The Twitbin of History: A Failed Experiment
I keep reading stuff about how people are using Twitter for legit business purposes. With trepidation, I decided to try it myself.
I’ve been Twittering for a couple of months and have actually come to enjoy what’s called [my favorite highbrow term of Twitter art] the “ambient intimacy”–the background of friendly, if usually vacuous, chatter of my smallish Twitter “posse” [my favorite Twitter lowbrow term of art].
So I proposed to a working group of mine–a threesome in an office, me from my home-office HQ–to create new Twitter handles known only to us, and create an invitation-only Twitter group in which we’d share our links, momentary observations, quick questions, etc. Essentially, we’d use Twitter as group IM.
We all installed the dead-simple Twitbin plugin for the Firefox browser. This displays a mini-Twitter-interface in a sidebar of your browser. We chose to “follow” each other’s new handles, closed the group to outsiders, and we were off.
We continue to soldier on, but the project isn’t working.
1. For quick group questions, this system works only when one or more members of the posse are at their desks, typing [none of us it a mobile Twit yet]. Otherwise I find myself sending a regular-old e-mail to one or several of them to get an answer. I’ve been known to use the phone.
2. Many times I’ll return to my desk–sometimes after an hour, sometimes when the sun is gone–to see a lonely message in the Twitbin: “You there? When’s a good time to call?” “Can you send me that draft?” It seems so sad and. . .defunct. I may answer: “Here now: Give a buzz.” Or “Talk at 4?” Then I see my sad, defunct message in the bin. It’s rarely responded to.
I suspect our group is too small for this to work effectively. Perhaps a dozen people would ensure someone’s around to create that efficient call-and-response. Our team should expand to 6 or 8 shortly, so maybe it’ll take on some momentum.
But, truth told–and I’m not proud of this–I miss my “real” Twitter posse. The links from friends, the brain-spatter of people I admire, the updates from the far-flung, the mundanities of car repairs, minor injuries, funny quotes, memorable meals, reported observations, and even the odd bit of shameless hype (how the hell did @supplementsforfree! get into my posse?).
And no, the thought of following multiple Twitter feeds is more than I can bear. Just one is sucking away my precious lifeforce–and time from other “important” social media tasks like reading RSS feeds, checking my Facebook profile, responding to LinkedIn mail. . .you get the idea.
[They say ADD is a structural or chemical condition. I’m wondering if you can’t bring it on with your own unwise, repeated behavior, the way you can get the flu by slow-dancing with the wrong person all night.]
But back to the question: Aside from promoting blog entries (which I do with my “real” Twitter account and will, in a curiously reflexive exercise, do with this one too)–has anybody out there found an efficient way to leverage Twitter for some professional purpose?
Leave a comment here. I’d tell you to find me on Twitter, but I’ll be away for a while.