I belatedly enter Twitterland – participating in a cross-section of human conversation – this is true “micro-messaging”!


I set up my rossdawson Twitter account this morning. I know I’m very late to the party, but will now be exploring this space.

I’ve followed Twitter and its peers from the beginning as well as I can as a non-participant. My attitude has always been that my primary online presence is my blog – everything flows out from that. I don’t have enough time to write anything near as much as I’d like on my blog, so I felt that starting to Twitter would take away from the little time I have to devote to blogging. I do have a very intense schedule almost all the time, with major events, speeches, and deadlines succeeding each other in rapid succession, on top of a stack of travel. I consider it my top priority doing my client work and events as well I possibly can, and while creating content is a core activity for me, it can’t take over other things (for now).

Clearly momentum has built over time in my intent to get onto Twitter, and have been playing with the idea for a while. I actually decided to get on after last catching with Shannon Clark in a San Francisco café earlier this year. He told me that Twitter was at the center of his life, and gave a compelling description of the benefits to him in being across and in the conversation.

However I’ve been so busy that I never quite found the time to get it going. I’ve certainly been active on FriendFeed, and using tools such as AlertThingy in fact has given me much of the functionality of Twitter, in allowing messaging across my activities, following Twitter feeds, and responding on FriendFeed.

The final trigger to get me to sign up was Phil Morle telling me that he wanted to thank me for the top 100 web apps event on Thursday, and he couldn’t address his Twitter post to me. Later that evening Kate Carruthers told me she’d been following the event on Twitterstream, and seemed to have a reasonable idea of what was going on.

So I’m now on Twitter, and will dabble. I will definitely be cautious on my time spent on Twitter, but I’m already beginning to see the possibilities. I do think that around now is when Twitter is getting the breadth of usage whereby you can genuinely see if as participating in a cross-section of humanity’s conversation (rather than geeks’ conversation :-) ).

This is the original, seminal manifestation of the concept of “micro-messaging” that I wrote about in chapter 1 of Living Networks in 2002. I will report now as a participant. Perhaps others who have held back will feel it’s getting time to get onto Twitter (or its alternatives).

I’ll work out my approach as I go, as I have with blogging. The critical choice everyone on Twitter has to make is what you choose to write about (and not write about). I think I’ll err on the side of posting useful things, though it’s also good to let whoever’s interested know a little bit more of my life. These are choices we make about how we manifest ourselves in a transparent, visible world. We make them continuously. And attitudes are changing rapidly.

I think you are creating value for others when you share of yourself. There is so much that can be aggregated from that. This is going to be a very fun space to play in.