Thursday, April 16, 2009

Exploring Twitter

I am really getting intrigued by the possibilities of Twitter. I was one of the reluctants that didn't really want to join and had no intention of joining (I could not comprehend why on earth I would ever have anything to post or that I would ever want to read others' posts), but I nibbled the hook from NASA's @Astro_Mike, and yep, I am there now. It's not as horrible as I originally imagined.

Okay, the public timeline is pretty lame - where everyone and their dog from around the world is tweeting about anything from the inane to the insane - so I just don't go there. It's not like it's splashed up in your face; you have to click to another page to even see it, so it's completely out-of-sight out-of-mind.

But being able to follow things I'm actually interested in, like NASA and Guild Wars news, well, that's pretty cool. I get to see a short headline without a bunch of graphics, and if they've added a link and the blurb is of interest to me, then I can go read more. I don't have to go to each places' individual websites to see if they have any news of interest for me today (and most times I don't bother going to "places of interest" websites except once in a blue moon as I simply do not have time!). Twitter is turning into a huge efficiency tool for me.*

And now it's got me jumping on another bandwagon that has been around forever that I previously hadn't found a reason to bother with - podcast subscriptions. The one at has caught my interest (I found it on where there are some great newbie tips).

I have started listening to Twooter from episode 1. They only began last month, so fortunately I don't have much to catch up on. I've subscribed to the RSS feed, and am now learning how to set up automatic downloads so I can listen to the MP3 podcast files anytime on my Blackberry. One thing leads to another! I'm getting a real education on Media RSS, which, before today, I had no idea existed. I was still living in the world of RSS being just for html-based feeds.

As for Twitter itself, I'm pondering the project management capabilities of this. Sure, any social networking site can accept and send feeds, but Twitter being so clean and short seems a natural species for project details in miniature - at least, for those that one would want to share publicly (a completely private mass text service, to be shared only between project manangement teams, would still be better housed on a company's private servers, for example, many large companies have their own in-house networks with individual employee pages used for networking within the company - similar to Facebook, but only for co-workers and not accessible to the public).

However, the current lack of funding on Twitter is nagging. What type of funding will they go to? Although there is nothing in the works at this time, and it sounds like they have several million invested right now to support the currently free service, it makes me hesitant to jump on using it for professional project updates.

But it has me thinking. Even if I never decide to use a Twitter feed on my professional site, I can see the attractiveness of adding my own private textable feed, being able to remotely broadcast non-proprietary project info as a work showcase/portfolio. From what I'm digging up on RSS, I'm almost certain the tool I'm looking for is in there somewhere.

*Although one could argue that all the time I'm spending on this research is a huge time suck today, learning more coding tricks is always good for business.

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