Showing posts with label twitter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label twitter. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Michael Gartenberg - Still Not Twittering

Michael Gartenberg is still not twittering, poor unenlightened soul. He prefers to use Facebook for his minute-to-minute status, and doesn't want to add another bunch of contacts to another social network after having done it twice with Facebook and LinkedIn. Sure can't blame him for that. To mix a metaphor, the walled gardens need to start playing a little more nicely with each other. I think then we'll all be a little more inclined to add a new network to our lists. I got a Jaiku account after the Google news, but I haven't put forth the effort to put a bunch of my contacts on it, or to find a nice client for it, and because of that I haven't even looked at the web page in days.

Michael also points out that it's another feed to check. He's already got a bunch of RSS feeds, work email, and personal email, and doesn't want another feed to look at.

But he is willing to admit that he might be missing things. The issue of how to prioritize feeds is coming up for me, too. The feeds in my information stream generally break down to:

  • General status updates and tweets

  • Quick-skim blog entries, newspaper articles, longer forum discussion posts

  • Technical papers, long blog entries, that you can't really get the gist of by skimming

  • General or group emails

  • Emails specifically to me, or that I need to deal with

  • Tweets specifically to me

(Picture by Pete Reed)

How these are prioritized, and how they should be prioritized, are two different beasts. Certainly my top priority items are emails and tweets for me - they're the things I want to read first. After that, depending on how much time I have, I may want to skim the short items or buckle down to a technical paper. But how I actually prioritize them is via the application they're sitting on. I have a Twitter reader, Outlook, Gmail, and Google Reader to grab all these different feeds: stuff that comes in via Outlook gets highest priority since it has the nicest toast mechanism. Teletwitter, my twitter reader, doesn't always pop toast properly, so I'll often miss messages on it, although I don't care so much since they're low priority. Except, of course, for the ones targeted to me, which are high priority, but which I still miss since there's no way to grab them out of the twitter stream. And if a good technical paper comes across Google Reader, I'll probably share or star it to come back to as I J-J-J through the list, then forget about it entirely.

So there's clearly work to be done in this space.

I am absolutely sure that all my streams can be prioritized together properly, because it seems to me that it can be mechanized without too much trouble, but I'm not sure how yet. But I'm sure someone out there is already working on the issue.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bloomington not yet a'Twitter

Lots of interesting stuff going on in the Bloomington scene this week. James Boyd, who I've written about before, sat down to watch and interpret the 36 hours in three days of Monroe County budget hearings, and posted them on a dedicated comment thread on the newspaper's web site...I mentioned that on Twitter. Some of my coworkers wandered off to the Agile2007 conference and sent reports back on speakers they liked; I added a couple of people to my Twitter list and blogroll due to that. My kid started kindergarten, so I've been ramping up my list of educators as well (too bad there are no local ones as of yet!).

While James was posting his updates, I tried to follow along with his numbers on a Google spreadsheet, with only a fair amount of success. (Of course, my job was easy since all I did was read the comment threads. James had to try to interpret everything and post and try to keep up with details on the numbers - all in real time.) My goal was fairly self-centered: I wanted to understand exactly what they were voting on and why. But certainly if what I was doing was useful at all I wanted to share it - why keep it private? (A former boss asked me that once. Why did I blog about my trip instead of putting it in an email and sending it to the six or seven people in my group? All I could do was stare at him blankly.) All in all, I'd say that my, and probably a lot of other people's, information stream had gotten a lot wider this week.

Thinking along many of the same lines, only way more articulately than I could ever be, Kevin Makice wrote an piece on the future of local social networking. Kevin wants everyone to center around Twitter, which I doubt will happen. The Herald-Times has taken a real leadership role in this process, and they of course have a vested interest in bringing people to their site instead. Councilmember Sophia Travis pointed out that it was way too tough for her to actively participate in the discussion as well as listen to the issues, although she did manage a couple of notes.

So where do we go from here? Here are a few things I notice:

  • It took a professional, not a blogger, to (a) generate interest and (b) pull off the budget updates with the right amount of elan to keep everyone interested. Is this a requirement? I'd say no, but the fact is that I wasn't about to take several days off work to go down there and watch. It's a lot easier to do it if someone will pay you.
  • With the exceptions of Councilmembers Travis and Marty Hawk (who posts to the HT occasionally) there are few enough politicians in the general conversation, to expect that there will be many in the live conversation (by which I mean Twitter, or the running comment thread). It would be nice if this changed.
  • I had to ask early on in the process for copies of the spreadsheets the council was using. Apparently the auditor was running around with them on a thumb drive, handing out copies to whoever needed them. It would have been nice to just stick them on a web page at the beginning.
  • I want a budget expert available to answer questions from the public. I probably had a dozen questions over the three days - granted, I always have questions, it's because I don't know anything - but many of them James couldn't answer, and probably many he could have but didn't because he didn't have time. Wouldn't it have been cool if the auditor's office could have somebody sit and monitor the thread and explain stuff?
  • Let's not wait for next year's budget to do this again. Send the junior copy editor to update us on the Redevelopment Commission meeting. Let's get a volunteer blogger to liveblog the Planning Commission. Let's keep the government exposed!
  • Budget hearings are a really moronic way of doing things. A bunch of exhausted people sitting in a room voting yea or nay at random on a couple of grand so they can get it over with and get some lunch? Tell you what, next time let's get all the line items out on a nice wiki page and hash it out that way. I realize I'm text-centered and maybe others prefer the face-to-face, but then how about over NetMeeting or something?
  • Now, I'm not trying to grouse and say that things should have been done differently. Or to be more precise, of course they should be done differently, but we never know precisely how until afterwards. This has been a great learning week for me, and I hope, for everyone else as well.

Sorry, Kevin, I didn't get that Bloomingpedia article on the budget written; the hazards of citizen journalism :) But maybe now we all see a little bit more of the possibilities that are opening up before our eyes. Hey, follow me on Twitter!