In last week’s class I found the discussion of Twitter to be pretty interesting. Some of it was about tips, tricks and tools (things like HootSuite, Tweetdeck and filters), but a lot of the discussion was just people reflecting on their experience with Twitter — the good, the bad and the surprising.
Given that this was a class in SI, I was somewhat surprised at the number of people who really hadn’t previously explored Twitter, but at the same time, it was really valuable to get a more fresh perspective from people on it. It was even refreshing to hear some skeptics… I have been at events before where everyone is so busy documenting what’s happening (taking pictures, tweeting, etc.), I feel like they are missing out on actually being in the moment and truly experiencing what is happening. I don’t like gatherings when everyone is a slave to Twitter/their tech, and so I like to hear some good, Twitter-skeptical voices now and then!
Overall, though, I would have to saw that the response by Twitter newbs to their experience was a sense of surprise at what they actually were able to get out of Twitter/following specific people relevant to their interests. The conversation touched briefly of different folks’ ideas/senses of both influence and relevance, and also revealed that some people were more into personal connections while others didn’t find that type fo connection very appealing overall.
Talk of relevance and influence, however, made me think of a few recent conversations I’ve had about these topics with regard to services like Klout and other tools that claim to measure a particular person’s “influence.” While there is some validity to that, it’s always struck me that the content of someone’s particular tweet has a lot to do with perceived relevance/likeliness to share, too. Interestingly enough, this recent study from researchers at Indiana University, highlighted in this Atlantic article, seems to bolster my thinking that relevance/connectedness is key — ie: “having the right message for the right people.” There are some interesting visualizations in this study, and this sort of communications research is really fascinating to me!