I started using Twitter a couple years ago when I bought my first smartphone. I wasn’t very interested in Twitter but the free social networking feature of my data plan was reason enough to at least try it out. I followed a few friends who tweeted pretty often but the short blurbs of people’s daily wasn’t very appealing to me at first. So decided to check out what people followed to see if I could get something more out of Twitter.
When I checked out what my friends were following I found that one friend was following an account called @Zen_Moments – this account posts quotes and links to articles which give their viewers a quick taste of Zen and other philosophies. At this point I realized that Twitter was an ideal platform for sharing quotes because of the small character limit and the scrolling display. It was pretty easy to find a few accounts which posted quotes and the shortness of quotes made them easy to read on Twitter. I found that I was only using Twitter when I was on the bus or when I was waiting for classes to start so I began to read quotes and think about them in my down time.
I think this is an important factor in my experience with Twitter – I only use it when I’m travelling or killing time, and this may be why I haven’t found myself wanting to Tweet.
Another thing I liked about Twitter was the ability to favorite tweets – a simple but useful mechanic for saving quotes/Tweets I like. I would favorite quotes so that I could find them later or browse quotes and think about how their relevance has changed in my life since I favorited them. Twitter is like a small archive of quotes which I can access whenever I want. Admittedly this use is not very social in itself I’ll sometimes pull up a quote and share it with friends. In this regard I think I interact with Twitter in much the same way I use Reddit – as a platform for media which I appreciate/consume and then share in social interactions offline.
I suppose I found a form of media which worked well within the Twitter platform instead of adjusting my own reading habits to suit the new modes of communication which occur on Twitter and so I’m hesitant to make any claims about the affects of Twitter on communication from my own experience. A few things which come to mind is that while I’m using Twitter in transit I’m doing so in place of any other practice of time filling which I would’ve been doing. I’m spending more of my attention reading small bursts of info rather than reading a book so this influences my reading practices and may have some effect on my attention span (but I hope not! :s).
In sum, my experience with Twitter has been pretty positive but I doubt that I’ll ever really be an active Tweeter.