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All a Twitter: good read

in Technical Book Reviews , Monday, July 27, 2009

My previous post displayed me at my sarcastic best, with a cheap jibe at a book I hadn’t actually read. When I actually started reading the book, I soon discovered this…

This Book Is Written in More Than 140 Characters

Yes, I’ve heard that joke. I’ve heard it often. If you are at a book signing and are thinking of asking me, “So is this book written in more than 140 characters?”, please reconsider. The fact that this book is as thick as it is and has thirteen chapters should be the hint that there is a bit more to Twitter than you might expect.

And just tonight, as I was writing this, someone cracked that joke. So, please, don’t make that joke. It’s just not working for me anymore. Thank you in advance.

...and felt suitably embarrassed.

Well, the case for the defence rests on the fact that there is an awful amount of new-agey, geeky, shallow idiocy written about Twitter - amazingly, not all of if by Tim O’Bookshifter - and I just expected this to be another bloated hagiography. Well, I was wrong.

“All a Twitter” is actually rather good. Tee Morris explains the mechanics of Twitter as a web application, and critically examines various tools you can get hold of to enhance your experience. But beyond that it takes a reasoned, balanced view of the “why” of Twitter, and encourages readers to decide for themselves what benefit they could get by joining in - or not.

You may think that Twitter is something that young people today waste their time on, or you may think that it is the biggest revolution in personal communication, like, EVER. Or you may think that it is a healthy social lifeline for the millions of people who spend their waking hours, at work or at play, in front of a computer screen.

You may also be turned off by the crass levels of self-promotion which various public and insider figures have indulged themselves in. Well, the author deals with them, gloves off, and makes it clear that their egocentric behaviour reflects themselves, not the wider community.

Personally, I’m still not sure if Twitter is for me - and especially vice-versa, but I’m better informed now than I was on Friday. Wherever you stand, if you’re at all interested in this social phenomenon, “All a Twitter” is a remarkably interesting, well written and thought provoking book that deserves a wide audience.

And yeah, it’s written in more than 140 characters.

Posted in category "Technical Book Reviews" on Monday, July 27, 2009 at 01:46 PM

Antisocial networking

in General Rants , Monday, April 13, 2009

I’ve decided to terminate my Twitter account with extreme prejudice. I just find it disturbingly inane to the point of being creepy. I cannot communicate anything I would want to let anybody else know in 140 characters, and the people I’ve been “following” are not telling me anything interesting either. I also really can’t get why it’s a good idea to be “followed” by total strangers.

I’m not hiding from anybody. My email address is easy enough to find, and this website should give you a good indication of the value of my thoughts…

Unfortunately I need to keep an eye on Facebook for professional reasons, but please don’t try to engage with me there. You’ll be wasting your time.

Posted in category "General Rants" on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 12:51 AM