Friday, November 9, 2007

Some Twitter moments

I've never been able to adequately explain Twitter to anyone. When I see the inevitable "are you nuts?" look I always say, "It's something you have to do before you can begin to understand it." I've watched others try to explain it with the same lack of success. It's actually quite comical. Twitter, more than any other Web 2.0 application, requires that you be-the-ball before you can even pretend to reach understanding.

So if you don't tweet you may or may not make any sense of what follows. I've had a couple of interesting exchanges on Twitter of late that I thought I would share. The first happened this week when I was at the Defrag conference and listening to a wonderful presentation by K.G. Schneider who blogs at Free Range Librarian. I posted a random tweet and the following conversation ensued. Mind you, I have never met Katie Shehan, and didn't know that we were connected through Twitter, but I have read her Loose Cannon Librarian blog for sometime. The conversation:

k1v1n The speaker, a librarian, just asked: Is anyone here a regular library user? Not a single hand went up. That even surprised me. 04:00 PM November 06, 2007

k1v1n disconnnected data silos with non-usable content? and the topic is? 04:04 PM November 06, 2007

itsjustkate @k1v1n: the speaker is a *great* librarian! 04:22 PM November 06, 2007

Satisficing trumps perfection every time. how true is that? 04:23 PM November 06, 2007

k1v1n @itsjustkate: this is the best talk by a librarian that I have EVER heard. Her name is K.G. Schneider. 04:27 PM November 06, 2007

itsjustkate @k1v1n: i know! she's the best! she's a wonderful speaker and her blog is amazing! 04:31 PM November 06

k1v1n @itsjustkate: How did you know? Are you in the room? 04:42 PM November 06, 2007

itsjustkate @k1v1n: nope (i wish!) she's on twitter. :) 04:45 PM November 06, 2007

k1v1n @itsjustkate: that makes me smile. i think there's a blog post here. twitter, for being so simple, is flat amazing sometimes. 04:50 PM November 06, 2007

itsjustkate @k1v1n: it really is. i was just talking to another twitter pal about how much i like twitter for the sense of community & weird connections 04:52 PM November 06, 2007

Last week I had this interesting exchange with simpathique who lives in Belgrade-Serbia:

simpathique @k1v1n hi kevin! sorry,saw now that you follow me! welcome! how's in NC? I am coming to UNC-Ch.Hill, Durham this January.btw used to live there:) dana 01:00 PM October 29

k1v1n @simpathique Welcome! I love it here in NC, and Chapel Hill is as good as it gets. Are you coming to go to school? 12:48 AM October 30, 2007

simpathique @k1v1n oh kevin, i've been alumni of unc in 2003.04 and i turned back to europe after intern at UCSD, crazyu story. Mind to join me at Facebook?the 01:01 AM October 30, 2007

simpathique @k1v1n there are some folks from unc and chapel hill, durham, etc..i've been invited to give a speech and session on sci.Conference, mid January 01:01 AM October 30, 2007

simpathique @k1v1n used to live at Airport dr. and know in fingers (east)Franklin st.:)) hard it is?:) anyway, my ID at FB is [name removed] 1st+last name 01:03 AM October 30, 2007

k1v1n @simpathique would that be the science bloggers conference? I'll be attending that too . If that's the one then we will have a chance to meet.

simpathique yes, i just posted note that bora zivkovic posted today...:)) hahah, small is the world...let me add you at FB 01:12 AM October 30, 2007

Simpathique has since followed up with some Twitter and Facebook messages, and we are finding that we have some common professional interests. She just asked me some really good questions about Second Life. They were such good questions that I think the answer will result in a blog post. I'm looking forward to meeting her face-to-face come January.

I've had more exchanges like these on Twitter than I can count. These were a couple of recent ones that I remembered, and thought they might be interesting to share. I have no idea whether sharing these helps to give some insight to the world that is Twitter, but they were both special to me. If you don't use Twitter you are missing out on some wonderful opportunities to intereact with some very interesting people. Just don't ask me to try to explain it.


DebC said...

I think you've heard me tell people they were going to think Twitter was the stupidest application in the world unless they used it. And among the entertaining things was not only did they tell me right then that they didn't get it, but at least one person came up to me two days later still wanting to talk about how he didn't get it.

But it's fun trying to explain it and I keep trying to find ways to do it. Be interesting to see if this approach turns on any lights (or encourages people to try it, which is probably the most effective way to get converts).

BTW, have you seen this research article:

Why we twitter

I still think Twitter is one of the few applications I've seen that gives us tacit communication (like chatter at the beginning of business meetings) where we build trust and make and maintain contacts and all that critical stuff that we pretend we don't need and is actually essential.

Anonymous said...

Came across your blog a few days ago, just started following you on twitter. Hope you don't mind. I've enjoyed what i've read so far :) Happy to be finding more techies in nc.

Kevin Gamble said...


When I wrote that part about watching others try I was most definitely thinking of the session I watched you do in Iowa. That was too funny.

I had seen that research article, but it was fun to revisit it again. TY!

Your last paragraph says it all!


Kevin Gamble said...


Welcome and thank you for your comment. Thanks for the follow and I will definitely follow you back. I truly do enjoy the conversations, and meeting new people.


Anonymous said...

Great post Kevin -- please note I remember your twitter re-library. What I really would love to know is how is your goal of Twitter followers going? Checked your number and it is getting up there. Has it reached the point where is has become overwhelming?

I think the key is it is almost impossible to explain twitter however what works for me is when people who I trust start using a tool I decided that maybe there is something I need to be getting. Here is a podcast that I was asked to do on twitter with voices from others on twitter - it may help.

Kevin Gamble said...

Good to hear from you Sue! Thank you for your comments.

The growing of my followers is going well. I did decide that it is a better strategy to grow more slowly. I was feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up. Growing it more slowly has allowed me to get to know people better. The new peeps standout for a bit and I can get a better feel for what they are all about. Their posts don't get lost in the stream as easily.

Thank for the link to your podcast. I'll listen shortly (after breakfast -- priorities and all).


Anonymous said...

I have been still paying attention -- just the 3 weeks of conferences followed by trying to catch up with home/work stole time from me :) .

So I am wondering have you decided on a magic number for how many twitters is an ideal number to follow before it overwhelms you? Also bird feed? Well that may be one way to discourage people from following you (did not feel well afterwards) ROFL.