Let’s Talk Twitter

 Do you “tweet” or have a twitter account? Do you know what a Twitter account is? If you are my parents, you might not, so in brief: Twitter is another social media platform in which you can post messages of 140 characters on your twitter homepage. Anyone (unless you choose privacy) can read your page of “tweets.” You can follow what other users are “tweeting” about and reply to them, form groups or list and share anything: news articles, thoughts, clever one-liners, photographs, questions and more. So, it’s kind of like Facebook except shorter, or an online text message. (Actually, all of these can be linked nowadays.) People use Twitter for a variety of reasons, from personal to another way to entertain blog readers to networking to actual conversations.

 Why do I want to talk about Twitter? In all honesty, I’m undecided on how useful I find it – for me. I’m curious to hear why people love it so much and how it has benefited them, personally or professionally. Yes, Preservation in Pink has a Twitter account (@presinpink). I jumped on the bandwagon, which is one of the few times in life I caved to peer pressure. When a new post is published, WordPress automatically informs Twitter and a tweet with the name of the post and the link is shared on the @presinpink home page. In that manner it serves as another means of publication for blog posts. Once in a while I’ll share a news article or “retweet” an interesting link for someone else, but then I feel too addicted to the internet in a media platform that I don’t love. When that happens I tend to ignore Twitter and let WordPress do the work for me (thank you WordPress!)

Originally, when I first learned of Twitter years ago, it seemed like another “look at me!” platform, which it probably was at the time. Now it has evolved to be almost as popular as Facebook. It is a way for people and businesses to get their news out and form connections. There are entire conversations on Twitter, too.

Ever since hearing about Twitter chats, I’ve been decidedly more undecided about Twitter. The National Trust has been hosting monthly Twitter chats for a few months now and they sound like a great time. Kayla at Adventures in Heritage is one of the moderators and she explains how to Twitter and summarizes the chats along with a few others.

Remember when instant messenger (IM & AOL) was huge? (That’d be in the late 1990s/early 2000s.) In middle school and early high school days, it was so exciting to “talk” with friends in a chat room rather than having individual conversations. Snooping sisters couldn’t hear the conversations about boys and school. We could have multiple conversations at once. I loved it.

Are these Twitter chats similar? They seem to be, though I can’t get into Twitter conversations. Part of me finds it incredibly confusing. Part of me is against shortening words into code enough to fit within 140 characters. Annoying so, there are very few words which I’ll abbreviate or translate into text slang when text messaging. Thus, Twitter fuels my pet peeve of poor use of the English language.

However, perhaps the benefit of Twitter is keeping us verbose internet savvy preservationists brief. Get to the point, craft your 140 characters and move on. Share a link. Spread good news.

Is Twitter another must have for professional networking? Or is it a feel-good social platform? Is it actually useful for encouraging preservation? Or is it a case of a bunch of keyboard preservationists tweeting? I’d say both are the extreme. I mean, hey, any form of preservation chatter is good, right? Indeed.

I’m not trying to bash Twitter or those who use it. Whatever you find useful in this digital age is obviously a good thing. The power of education and conversation! But, I would like to hear from others on the advantages and disadvantages, or when you use Twitter or when you don’t. Do you have Twitter boundaries? Is there such a thing as keeping up with too many internet social platforms? Please, share!

My work schedule doesn’t allow me to be available at 4pm EST for these chats so I have missed out on them so far (but there’s always hope, right?). And now that I’ve openly questioned Twitter in public, it’s probably a good time to try it out to the full extent. To those who have asked, I will give a Twitter chat a try, I promise.

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4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Twitter

  1. For me, twitter is a good way to keep up with what’s going on in the preservation and architecture worlds. I can either look at the 140 word synopsis or click further if I want to know more. I don’t have to check blogs daily or fill my e-mail box with newsletters. And, frankly, I wouldn’t have found the great stuff on your blog if you didn’t tweet!

    • Hi Terri, Good point: sometimes a brief overview of the news is best and then you can choose what you read – and not having a clogged inbox is so nice (since usually it’s all retail or other junk). I do like Twitter for that sort of thing.

  2. I’m not a slave to twitter, but I do find it useful when I remember to check in. I like the quick feeds of stuff I might not see otherwise, I have found people or organizations of interest that I don’t think I’d have discovered otherwise. And it’s a marvelous way to access people, organizations, or companies and get a quick hit response. Because of twitter and its usefulness in making connections, I’ve been in touch with a certain paint company about the possibility of helping out certain historic sites, I’ve gotten a quick response from an auto repair company about a complaint, and I’ve found fascinating preservation information I’d have otherwise missed. (And I confess to following a commentary feed during a television program, an experience I found quite amusing.)

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