This barking is only partly about twitter. Well, actually its not about twitter at all, but I think I can satisfy some sanity overload by mentioning twitter 3 times in my first three sentences.
Over the long Memorial Day weekend here in the states, I’ve spent almost no time on the computer, and not much on twitter either. I’m not feeling any shakes of withdrawal or anguish over “missing out.” A shrug seems to take care of it. But offline, I’ve been mulling over my friend and colleague Scott Leslie’s “my twitter curve” post from end of the week. Actually, its generated 2 different blog post ideas, so call this “Part Uno”.
Like many people, Scott got rather fed up with twitter’s erratic (to say the least) behavior, where it was either unavailable (stupid cat photos in the server photo; ahem, which are no longer cute or funny), and worse, cases where Twitter would consume your carefully worded tweets, but then the blue bird just ate ’em whole.
It’s too bad, the experiment was fun, I really enjoyed the daily interaction with old friends like CogDog, D’Arcy and Brian and making new ones with Bryan, Jim, Gardner and others, but at the end of the day I have no affection for flaky apps that leave me feeling like I’m the one with the problem instead of just plain breaking (which at least you know was the apps fault). So goodbye Twitter, it’s been nice to know yah. And hopefully this won’t render me persona non grata with the Twitterati.
First, I have no desire to judge Scott’s choice, or try and talk him out of it. That’s the whole point of blogging, right? To stake a stand, voice it, be a rebel, stir up a fuss. And likely, as a ripple effect, it engenders a response (e.g. Gardner’s “Shane Come Back” — I thought maybe the right title would be, “Lassie! Scott’s Fallen in a Well! Get Help”}.
Apologies not needed.
So here I am trying to steer this blog to a point (and i seems to want to veer off in random directions away– hard left!!!!!).
I am interested mostly in the phenomena how people approach, react to twitter, a poster child polarization of how people face technology. I really don’t care much about what it does, and while I am currently mildly hooked, its not really one of the web 2.0 things I hold closest. its a fun play thing, and does some interesting things in terms of that euphoric feel of being insanely connected.
On the other hand, when it barks like a sick cat with a cactus hairball, and we feel like firing off complaints, it takes me back to think, “here I am complaining about a service I don’t pay for”.
So the point (might be close, a signpost up ahead reads…”) is that I keep in unwritten mental attribute list of web X.0 stuff.
(1) If its free or beta, its hard to rail against the provider; what have you done for them lately?
(2) Don’t rely on the system to always be there, grab a backup. Its easy to say, but I most intensely involve myself with web app sites that allow me to import/export my content or media into some format I can inject elsewhere. When I jumped from MovableType to WordPress in 2005, I was able to export blog entries from MT and import them to WP. Or its been way long since I last did an update, but I just used the englaze service from flickr to order a copy of my flickr photos on DVD. Sure I have originals somewhere, they are actually a stack in my closet of about 90 CDs yet to be organized. I am not expecting my flickr photos to be there form now to the next century. Likewise, for del.icio.us, you can generate an exportable backup copy of your marks (go to the settings, and look for the option under the “Bookmarks” heading). Twitter really does not fit here, though, not even sure what I’d want to import or export.
So the rule is (a) use services that allow you to get stuff out or puts stuff in via export/import tool; and (b) be assertive about doing your own backups.
(3) Don’t fall into a trap of thinking there is “One True/Best Tool” – there are something like 30 bookmarking sites and 10+ photo sharing sites, and its silly to try and compare them all. Heck, we already have 2 different twitter like things (Twitter vs Jaiku), and I bet, somewhere, multiple places around the world, groups of geeks are heads down in their Ruby code trying to out twitter twitter.
(4) Focus onwhat’s really important… to you For my interests, goals, the blogspace is key- its my hub, my port. Flickr is also key, cause I am a photo nut. I use del.icious as the primary place to organize my resources. beyond those, other web X.0 stuff are “nice to have” but not all that essential.
I’m not even sure I made a point here, but the twitter activity intrigues me; on along term scale, the product, software, service itself is not terrible key.
And Scott, for all you know and do in the ed tech arena, you have plenty, huge, giant, humongous, vast piles of karma chips to burn before this twitterati disses you off.