Friday, 10 January 2014

In which I go Twitter

Paddy talked me into it before Christmas, and getting a smartofon helped too. I now have a Twitter account (Policies4Poland) and the Twitter feed is now in the panel on the right of this page (scroll down). It will be a while before this Twitter thing gains traction with me. I've been doing it for just over a month and I can't say that "I'm having a passionate conversation with my followers" using this medium - yet.

Looking at my blog stats since I started Tweeting, I can say that eight out of 2,119 visits referred to this blog have come from Twitter. So why bother? It's a good, real-time, direct news feed; following key politicians, news sources (FT, Economist, BBC, TVN24 and Gazeta Wyborcza until I hit the paywall) I'm kept up-to-date while using public transport, or just having it on in the background of my laptop as I do my daily office work.

It will take months before I become a proficient user of Twitter; it is a learning curve with a steep slope at this stage. In the meanwhile, my blog will remain my main medium - there's room for nuance, photos, debate - I've been blogging for the best part of seven years and I have become attached to it, doing it mainly as a way of recording for the future Poland's progress as it accelerates towards becoming a normal country.

I am beginning to see that Twitter is changing the way the political and business elites communicate with those who care to follow; I need to be convinced that this can become a dialogue. When it does so, the benefits for democracy could be significant. Will we be lost in a snowstorm of half-baked opinion, rumour, soundbite and truncated reporting? 400 million tweets a day last September compared to 100 million tweets per quarter in 2008. What is being said? Is anyone listening? What's the noise to signal ratio? How much is entertainment, and how much is in earnest?

I confess to kicking off in Twitter by following a handful of the Daily Telegraph's list of the Top 20 Funniest Tweeters. Most are still in my 'following' list, principally because I like a laugh every now and then.

So for those of you who have a Twitter account, and use it regularly, do click to follow me if you want more regular doses of what's on my mind - and I'll reciprocate if you have something interesting to say.

Twitter has its dangers. I much prefer reading carefully considered and crafted blog posts by commentators such as Charles Crawford than being deluged by 140-character-long blasts about football or feminism. The downside of going Twitter is neglecting one's blog; blogs are something for posterity, a three-course meal with wine; tweets are the online equivalent of potato crisps. But Twitter's instant character can be useful too as it complements blogging usefully.

In a year's time, I shall review how useful it all is. After all, I originally intended to blog about Jeziorki for one year - and that was back in 2007. The internet is a wonderful thing.

This time last year:
London Underground is 150 years old

This time two years ago:
My enemy's enemy is my...?

This time three years ago:
Some thoughts upon the Nature of Warfare

This time four years ago:
Snow so deep it needs a plough

This time five years ago:
A fieldfare in midwinter


Bob said...

Ok - I have taken the bait and am now one of your followers. If you see me on Karczunkowska late at night following you it is Twitter's fault - I have no clue how to use it!

Michael Dembinski said...

I'm learning too - many tricks of the trade to be learnt!

Kolin S. Murray said...

Followed. Might I suggest that you announce new blog posts with a tweet? Good way to increase your traffic and remind me you've written a new post.