Sunday, 30 October 2016

Thing 5: Twitter

I have been using Twitter enthusiastically since April 2009, not only from my own account but in tweeting for the Haddon Library, the Cambridge Philharmonic Society and Global Justice Cambridge.  What has changed since I blogged about Twitter in my coursework for those earlier rounds of 23things in 2010 and 2011?

Advanced search: this facility had dropped off my account, perhaps because of some Twitter re-setting.  I've now reinstated it, though I think in a slightly different form that requires me to open Twitter and search proactively rather than expect updates delivered to my email.  But the amount of material this search seems likely to retrieve is as small as I found it in 2010.

Twitter ban at work: in March 2010, I imposed a rule on myself that I should avoid Twitter at work when anything remained in my email inbox. I haven't had Inbox Zero since 2011.  My rule therefore now amounts, for practical purposes, to a requirement that I should not use Twitter at work.  I've kept to this pretty rigorously, and Twitterfeed continues to post to the Haddon Twitter stream from our blog.  Additionally, now, acknowledgment of some of the books we receive as gifts is made using Facebook and Twitter as well as email.

And what about Twitter's potential benefits to research?  It will do for sharing research once published, or semi-published: you can tweet links to journal articles, conference presentations and blog posts.  Searching Twitter will give some idea of what kinds of opinion are doing the rounds.

I did a few searches just now, to support amateur curiosity not research.  I wanted to find out if the inventor(s) of the 1935 Notificator, often likened to Twitter, had lived to see or support later developments in communications technology.  I wanted to know if other people were as much troubled by the sight of misplaced solicitude as I am.  I wanted to know if pre-emptive criticism, which I think we should all avoid, was a thing that troubled others.  I'll spare you blow-by-blow accounts of the search strategies I used, but I can say that I got no answer to the Notificator one, that tweets incorporating the phrase "misplaced solicitude" had been written by me alone, and that pre-emptive criticism is a thing.  Further research needed.


  1. Interesting to read about your use of Twitter. While everyone's use is entirely their own, I think it is a shame that you don't use Twitter at work as I often find useful discussions on there that are relevant to my professional work throughout the day. I guess it depends on who you follow.

    As for the Twitterfeed, while a useful tool to reduce workload, I'm not sure it is very friendly for Twitter as it doesn't work well with the 140 character limit. Plus Twitter should be responsive rather than just pushing stuff out there. But if that's what works for your situation then fine but it would be interesting to see a more active approach to Twitter use too as you do seem to post some interesting links to other stuff too! Just some thoughts, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks! I too feel my Twitter-at-work ban as a bit of a wrench. But there are very good reasons for it. I agree also that Twitter is far better when responsive than just when pushing things out. I get round the prohibition in two ways:

    (i) @AidanBaker follows all the @HaddonLibrary's followers, so I hear from them when I'm at home

    (ii) Twitter interactions w. the @HaddonLibrary are notified to me by email, and I can respond to them properly that way.