Today I celebrate 5 years on Twitter. Well, it’s not honestly much of a celebration, more a note in the diary. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of it until an automated tweet arrived in my activity stream.
And that’s the way it should be.
Twitter, after all, is not the be-all and end-all of anything, it is another part of one’s daily online life. That isn’t, however, to downplay its significance, because it really enables some extraordinary things.
Last Friday, for example, I posted a question on a whim, about what reading people is recommended in Learning and Development. I received an unexpectly large number of responses. People really thought about these books – and wanted to share their thoughts.
The result was that I felt I had to capture these tweets in a blog entry. I am still updating this as new suggestions come through.
15-10 years ago, this would have been a tedious business using email or bulletin boards. Before that? We would have been sharing our thoughts on a post-card and publishing in a journal. Or rather we wouldn’t, because none of this would have happened. The process would have been too cumbersome to bother with.
So Twitter enables a kind of immediacy of contact, of action and response, that is invaluable, but there are two caveats.
First – Twitter is not much good as a record. Hence the need to capture people’s thoughts on a blog, rather than leaving them to wither on my activity stream.
Second – Twitter is only as a valuable as the people in your network, and only as good as your reputation with them. I don’t believe anyone would have answered my question if they didn’t want to share the answer with other on my network, and didn’t trust, somewhere at the back of their minds, that I might do something half useful with it.
As always, it’s not about the technology, but about the people.