Failure to Twitter

Even Number 10 is at it now. Twittering is what I am talking about and although I have signed up for it, I cannot quite work up the enthusiasm. I think I'm digitally deficient and wondering what to do about it.

I keep noticing people on Facebook twittering. Rory Sutherland is a good twitterer, but I guess we all knew that already.

I signed up for Twitter ages ago as various people enthused about it, but at the time I was quite keen on Facebook updates. Yes, you guessed, now I am less keen.

But Twitter remains and as ground swell behind it grows it deserves more attention. Some people have really got into it, pouring out streams of Twitter posts or status updates.

This has seen it adopted by social media influencers and that is having an impact as people are starting to monitor it in the same way that blogs, forums and websites have previously been monitored.

There's a service called Tweet Scan that lets you do that. Apparently, you know if someone is worth monitoring (or if someone is a Twitterer of influence) if they have over 1500 people following their "tweets" on Twitter.

That potential audience, particularly of influential people who have journalists, bloggers and other commentators following them, could have a huge impact. It is certainly a larger audience than those enjoyed by a lot of blogs.

As that is the cool thing about Twitter. It is easy to follow and much easier to digest than a phone. I keep meaning to put it on my phone.

This has led to some interesting experiments. The Online Journalism blog has recently tried a little experiment of using Twitter to do a live-review of the Clay Shirky book 'Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations'.

It was an interesting experiment and was done, as Paul Bradshaw says on his blog, because A) he could; B) to see how viral it would go; and C) to see how social you could make that most anti-social of activities: reading a book.

It's kind of no surprise, in a way, what he discovered. It turned into a conversation as does any piece of online content – or publishing full stop for that matter. It is all conversation, but the immediacy and the ease of Twitter makes that process even easier. It is almost all conversation: the short sentences, those little utterances.

"As I twittered, other users chipped in with their responses, thoughts, and additions, like this, and this, and this. Others added leads based on the ideas mentioned, useful links and examples. And still others asked questions, which I then attempted to answer (”Does he acknowledge the role of bloggers in elevating the cases of missing persons who are traditionally given short shrift?” twittered Kim Pearson).

There are other examples of the same thing. US TV site TV Fodder is live blogging the start of the very exciting final series of 'Battlestar Galactica'. Those of you who have ever read a post by me know that I am quite excited by this event. I see that Sky One has almost an entire evening devoted to the show tonight ahead of its airing next week in the UK. Sadly, will have to Sky + this as I have a life. Just kidding – I am watching the football.

I digress. As enthusiasm for Twitter spreads – and if my name sake (Gordon Brown and Number 10 ) can do it – then really I need to get my Twittering arse in gear. I have few followers.

So if you are on Twitter and want to follow me please do (GordonM). I will be eternally grateful, or at least grateful until the next social media must-have addition to my life and yours arrives.

  • Pete Jackson

    As you have alluded to in your post, it is interesting to see a mega-popular social site, which essentially is a turbo-charged version of Facebook’s status update. I have read articles on sites developing GPS applications for mobile so as to show you at any given point where your mates are – would be cool if in the future this converged with Twitter – see where they are, what their thinking – A Big Brother service for your mates.

  • Peter Martin

    Went to the OJB blog post indicated.

    After scrolling 3 pages I rather fear this might get Twitter as much on my ‘must-check’ radar as FaceBook now is following the nth poke/wall/etc message or MySpace invite from Olga to be her … ‘friend’.

    I can see why Twitter might appeal to Dear Leader.

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