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When Twitter first came out, I couldn’t figure out how it could possibly be useful in a professional setting. What can you say in 140 characters or less? “Going to cafeteria for lunch now – thoughts?” It seemed like a restrictive form of instant messaging that could instantly broadcast trivia across the globe to people who really don’t care.
My perception has changed over the past year. I noticed that many high-tech bloggers tweet, if only to tell followers about their blogs and continue discussions that start in the blogs. I noticed a lot of tweeting from conferences, including interesting tidbits sent in real time from panels and presentations. This culminated at the Design Automation Conference, where there was a very active #46DAC list with something like 1,500 tweets.
Recently I signed up as @RichardGoering. My intent was to simply listen in for a while and get a sense of what Twitter is all about. I soon came to the conclusion that the primary role of Twitter, in our industry, is to point to on-line news reports, blogs and event listings that people find to be interesting. There are also short messages about news events, conferences, and standards activities, and right now, as you can imagine, a lot of commentary about the Apple iPad.
In recent days, I have been monitoring the #EDA list. Lo and behold, I’m finding it to be useful! Here are some of the things I discovered through tweets posted there during the past few days:
You can also find interesting content by searching for #FPGA or #Semiconductors. The #DVCon list turns up the latest information about that conference. You can follow the latest Cadence news and commentary at #CDNS. Remember, however, that our industry doesn’t have a monopoly on acronyms -- #DAC turns up tweets about the Denver Boy Scouts, and #ESL is about English as a Second Language.
Twitter seems like a fast way to find out what’s happening in the world of electronic design, and to continue the interactive conversation initiated by blogging and other social media. I’ve become more of a believer and have posted my first few tweets. And I promise that, if you follow me, I won’t tell you what I’m having for lunch.
I cannot deny the usefulness of Twitter as a pointer, just like I cannot deny that some Graffiti are works of art. But, although you will not tell me what you had for lunch, many do, or tell me where they sat on the plane, if they were upgraded, and what they plan to have for dinner. Twitter, I found, is a drag on time, since it is a ral time conversation piece, unless one just want to be a "user".
But, more and more people are telling me to tweet. Either they take me for a bird, or there is some marketing advantage to this gossip.
What the world needs is a TDE (Twitter Discipline Enforcer). Now I can I say that in 140 characters?
I came to Twitter reluctantly, more as an experiment than anything else. I used it first as a RSS filter (RT of news-worthy events or interesting articles), then as a network builder and research tool, then as a individual-basis connection medium.
Unlike a LinkedIn or a Facebook, whose usage is pretty clear, Twitter's modus operandi comes as you use it, and it does require more attention because of the asymmetrical "following" relation. Also the 140-character, which I ridiculed at the beginning, forces people to to-the-point statements. It's a great tool if you give it the time!
Karen -- your session helped me overcome some of that skepticism. Thanks!
Richard, I remember how skeptical you were when you came to my "Twitter for Newbies" session at #46DAC. Now you know why I like Twitter so much. @karenbartleson
I recently got onto Twitter because I was in need of a more efficient way of updating the status line on my Linked-In profile. I find it an interesting way of logging your activities and ideas. A contact had recommended the books list sponsored by Amazon but that excludes things like articles that you've read, lectures attended, etc.
Actually, my first use of Twitter was to follow the recent Design Automation Conference (#46DAC) from a long distance ... like Gimli, Manitoba, Canada! :)