Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Twitter confusion

I still don't understand why conversations between two or a few people are publicly displayed on Twitter. It just lowers the signal/noise ratio, which doesn't need any help in my opinion.  It is true for fewer people now though, but it's still true for William Gibson.

Anyway, what are people doing when they do this, below? Is this some sort of spam or what?



Twitter gives me a headache, and I probably wouldn't use it at all, except 1) it's good for notifications about new works for me, and 2) some people never respond to an email, but they *will* respond to a twitter message. (This is a mystery to me, but so is much of the world.) 
I guess it's just a social issue. There are a few people whose work I enjoy, and I'd like to exchange words with them occasionally, but they tend to only be available standing in noisy clubs, and I just can't handle it, I am very hyper-sensitive. But this is not uncommon. 

17 comments:

Timo Lehtinen said...

I still don't understand why conversations between two or a few people are publicly displayed on Twitter.

All tweets are public unless they are DM's. Public replies become part of your timeline if you follow both the sender and the receiver.

You may want to read some primer on Twitter. This is very basic stuff.

[...] what are people doing when they do this, below? Is this some sort of spam or what?

They are suggesting other Twitter users to follow. #FF stands for FollowFriday. By tradition, these suggestion tweets are done on Fridays.

eolake said...

Thanks for the clarifications. Really.

I have split minds on Twitter. I like it as a notification board of new things I or somebody else has done, or interesting things. But overall the thing gives me a headache, like being at a noisy party. Some people love noisy parties, not me.

"Public replies become part of your timeline if you follow both the sender and the receiver."

Mmmm, I don't follow all these people on William Gibson's timeline. I signed up to read his thoughts, not all of those.

"All tweets are public unless they are DM's"

OK, but I don't get why. Gibson says to somebody: "no, it's an old one," and I've no clue what it's about. Why is public the default, I don't care about all those little conversations. Maybe I just don't understand the social media geist.

emptyspaces said...

Most people I talk to that are over 30 say, "Twitter? Why should I care what someone had for breakfast?" That's obviously the tip of the Twitter iceberg, but I agree with you Eolake, there is way too much noise on Twitter. I think those sort of posts are oddly narcissistic.

I'm also fascinated by how nobody cares about their privacy any more. Back when I had a Facebook page, it was shocking to me how often people made themselves look foolish with what they'd post.

But back to Twitter - why indeed isn't everything set to private by default?

eolake said...

Thank you for saying that.

It's clear there is a great divide here, and that it roughly goes with a generational divide, but only roughly.

Timo Lehtinen said...

Mmmm, I don't follow all these people on William Gibson's timeline. I signed up to read his thoughts, not all of those.

It seems @rcosgrove is also unhappy about his tweeting practice:

"@GreatDismal Do you retweet everything? My feed is chock full of your RTs! PS. Big fan of your work!"

eolake said...

I mean a divide in how people see communication. Some people see communication as being a very selective thing, and others see it as a great, wonderful sea of public communication that flows around them.

eolake said...

Yes, I actually Unfollowed Gibson recently because he now makes like 50 re-tweets a day.

Timo Lehtinen said...

[...] but I agree with you Eolake, there is way too much noise on Twitter

Twitter is completely silent unless you follow someone. You have full control over whose tweets you see. You could follow no one and just the thing for your own announcements.

eolake said...

Yes, I have half decided to do just that.

That only leaves the problem of those people who have seemingly abandoned email for Twitter and FaceSpace (Face... something). How do you reach them? But I guess I'll just learn to let go.

Timo Lehtinen said...

Personally, I don't understand this "noisy space" complaint at all. Only follow what you are interested in. And then only read what you feel like reading.

For me, it is much easier to monitor the status messages of, say, the Internet services I depend on from a centralized place (my Twitter timeline) than regularly visit the websites of those companies just in case there might be something I should know about. This way, I find Twitter actually reduces stress instead of adding to it.

But this only works because I use a Mac client (Tweetie). If the only way to access the stream was to visit the twitter.com website, I don't think I would bother.

eolake said...

Part of the "noisy space" thing comes from the fact that I thought I had been very careful indeed in only following those I predicted would tweet something interesting. But hardly anybody ever tweets anything interesting, I'm very disappointed. Low signal/noise ratio, thus, "noisy".

Raf val said...

when I see a person has over about 500 followers I know they are doing it for ego and arent following anyone, so unless they are actually interesting, and most just repeat news and quotes etc, then I delete them all

craniac said...

I'm 48 and like Twitter. There are things about it that can annoy me but I have come to accept that it is a service with very simple rules or principles; this makes it open to being used in many different ways. That's a good thing but does mean that some may find ways of using it that make no sense to you. I say, use it, or don't use it, as you see fit and don't worry about how others are using it.

You might find this article No One is Holding Your Face in the Twitter Stream interesting.

Regarding the #FF thing; it's a good idea if people suggest each week just one stream that they find interesting and provide some insight as to why. Sadly it has been misused to the point where you see people posting a stream of several #FF posts with each containing just links to other streams. These are of no use and are probably just ignored by most people. If you're following someone that does this and it bothers you, just unfollow if there is otherwise no compelling value to their stream.

To quote from the article I mention above, "If your social networking experience isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong."

My stream is @strandloper should you be interested.

eolake said...

Thank you. Will read the article.

I do find occasional tidbits. I think it'll help me to learn to surf the stream lightly and not take it too seriously.

craniac said...

I'd forgotten that The Oatmeal did a cartoon on How #FollowFriday is supposed to work, but luckily someone retweeted it this morning.

Monsieur Beep! said...

I'm a user of Twitter because I have online friends (got to know them on Twitter, flickr, and blogs) and yes: Im interested in knowing "what they're having for brekky", lol. Then I like practising different languages, not grammatically correct but in short lessons because of the limited messages. Then I like to read the tweeted headlines from major news agencies and click (or not) on their links to read the whole stories.
It is important to read one of the numerous books on how to use flickr best, I'd say.
I've found a good app (tweetlist, but there are many other good ones) which organizes and filters the timeline.
I've become a Twitter addict, it's always at hand with my iPod touch.
Greetings and best wishes - I'm still fond of your blog Eo, although I don't comment so often.
http://www.twitter.com/senorbeep

eolake said...

Thanks, Beep.