I was about to write this blog when I noticed that Rachelle Gardner had posted about it as well. Nevertheless, I decided to go ahead and let you know where I currently stand on the subject of Twitter. Perhaps inquiring minds want to know. Or not.
Everybody's tweeting, it seems. For those of you who've been in a cave in Kentucky for the past year or so, Twitter is the latest instrument on the social networking scene. If FaceBook is the opportunity to gossip over the back fence and keep up with your friends and neighbors (and half the civilized world, it seems at times), then Twitter is a quick "How ya' doin'?" as you pass on the street. Tweets (as Twitter posts are called) are limited to 140 characters. Not 140 words, but characters! It does teach one to keep their messages short, although I'm noticing a number of the folks that I follow circumventing this by posting second and third messages until they finish their thought. Sort of like "as I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted."
There are a number of ways to manage Twitter on your computer. I started out using a free application called Twhirl, then switched to Tweetdeck (also free), and now have come back to Twhirl again. In my case, it was because I thought maybe Tweetdeck was slowing down my computer. Others have espoused one application or the other for varying reasons. For an excellent head-to-head comparison of the two, check out this post (from which the picture above was borrowed). It also has links to the two applications.
I've already made my feelings clear on the subject of over-communication and social networking, so I won't re-hash that subject. However, I will share my current thoughts about Twitter: I don't have time for this! At least not the way I started out. I learned early in the game that there are people who tweet twenty and thirty times a day, and if I followed them, I'd spend all day just reading their messages. I have decided that just because someone follows me, I don't have to reciprocate. Thus, I've limited the group I follow on Twitter to a couple of dozen people with whom I truly want to keep up.
Do I think Twitter increases my visibility as an author? I believe the jury is still out on that. Do I enjoy hearing from friends, some of whom I may only see once a year? Actually, I do. So, as long as I can keep the time and effort involved manageable, I'll probably continue to participate in Twitter. What about you? Feel free to leave me your thoughts...and I won't even limit you to 140 characters.