Bill MacKenty

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That thing about Twitter - I still prefer RSS

Posted in Educational Tech Twitter on 11 - January 2011 at 04:05 AM (13 years ago). 288 views.

Stephen Dowes writes about the possible beginning of the end of twitter here.

Mr. Dowes writes:

"This post shows how easy it is to create a Twitter account and have it automatically reply to Twitter posts of any description. At the very least, it greatly increases Twitter volume. At worse, it renders useless any search and fills your screen with 'replies' to your tweets."

So people are writing programs that look for specific words in a twitter post and then reply with a random quote. Yawn. That's been going on for years over on IRC in the form of chat bots. It's not totally unexpected to emerge on twitter, and I agree with the idea that could be really annoying for twitter. There's probably something smart to say about broad and shallow versus narrow and deep. Maybe we all love twitter so much because we've been taught to think broadly instead of deeply?

The problem is this just amplifies the signal to noise ratio I see on twitter. I've carefully followed and unfollowed people on twitter, and I finally have a decent list that generally gives me something interesting to read - I've often referred to twitter as human RSS. But even amongst my cultivated twitter friends, the signal to noise is high. For every great twit that points to an interested resource, I see ten that talk about their cat.

I think Will RIchardson nails twitter when he says:

"I thought a lot about Twitter, actually, and realized (again) that for me at least, it’s become as much of a bane as it has a boon. (This really isn’t news.) Much of the reason I don’t blog any longer, I think, is the Twitter effect. It’s easier just to Tweet out an interesting idea than to examine it more deeply here." (source).

I still read RSS most mornings. I scan headlines, stories, and open a new tab for stories I like. I find the discourse on blogs richer and more deliberate. That there is value in twitter goes without saying, but signal to noise ratio for twitter is a bit high for my taste.