Archive for April, 2009

The Budget: Twitter ye not

April 21, 2009

Recently I’ve been making use of Twitterfall, a tool that helps you keep track of what’s been said on a particular subject, across the Twitter world. Basically, it allows you to monitor a particular set of hashtags (#), which twitterers use to identify the subject of a posting. The ‘fall’ part describes the way in which posts with the monitored tag arrive from Twitter – they visually drop down a window on your screen.

Yesterday there was great merriment across the blogosphere over the Telegraph’s experiment with hosting a twitterfall window within their own webpages which was set to monitor the hashtag #budget. The problem was that large numbers of people saw this as an unmoderated way to add content to the Telegraph website by posting all sorts of nonsense to Twitter and simply adding the #budget tag. The Guardian’s media blog in particular had enormous fun at their rival’s expense, and I particularly liked the spoof comment that Barclays had agreed to pay all our personal tax bills.

Unfortunately, the general consensus seems to be that Telegraph staffers are a bunch of techno-illiterates who don’t understand the world of Twitter. But wait a minute, isn’t this a bit harsh? Surely this shows they believe in the power of the crowd to pull together and perform better than any one individual? Perhaps the Telegraph deserve some respect for hoping that people would utilise some personal self-restraint and actually post something of value about the budget. All this demonstrates is that Andrew Keen is right – we’re really not ready for an ‘unedited’ future.

Using Twitter

April 15, 2009

Regular readers will know that I have been a little sceptical about Twitter, saying, for example, that it needs some kind of killer app. in order to really take off. Recently though I have begun to mellow, as I have been making serious use of my Twitter account. There is, as you might expect, a vibrant community of users across the JISC universe that I inhabit. By following tweets I’ve been able to keep up with how enterprise architecture (EA) is shaping up across the higher education sector – particularly useful at the moment as I am in the process of preparing a synthesis report on EA.

Twitter started out as a quick way of saying ‘What I’m doing at the moment is…’. It’s still used a lot like this, but what I’ve noticed is that it also seems to be increasingly taking the same form as the earliest blog postings took i.e. very short statements along the lines of ‘Oh, have you seen this interesting thing’ followed by a link. Perhaps we are coming full circle? How long before Twitter expands to allow more than 140 characters?