Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.


You might have already noticed, but I finally hopped onto the Twitter bandwagon. You can see my latest tweets in the sidebar (it’s the “What I’m Doing” section), and I currently have it auto-posting a daily summary here on the blog (courtesy of the Twitter Tools plugin for WordPress). I’m not sure if I’ll continue that or not, though. Of course, if you are also on Twitter, you can just follow my tweets with whatever method you prefer.

When Twitter first started, I didn’t think I’d see much value in it. Like many, I figured, “I’ve already got a blog, why would I need another service to maintain?” Then, Alex King asked me to look at a couple of things in his Twitter Tools plugin, so I signed up, just for testing things out. And also like many other people, I discovered that the deliberately small messages draw you in to making quick updates. Even though I’ve found it hard to make longer regular posts (like this one), posting a quick tweet on Twitter doesn’t distract me for long enough to interrupt my work flow in any significant way. Eventually, I’ll probably start reading and posting tweets from my phone, but for now, the web view, IM notices, and RSS feed serve my needs.

If you’re using Twitter, what was your reaction — was it similar to mine? Or did you immediately jump in? Or did you decide that you didn’t have a use for it? Do you use it more for posting your own thoughts, or for following others? If you haven’t tried it yet, why not?

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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26 Responses to Twitterings

  1. Jeffro2pt0 says:

    I gave Twitter a shot for awhile and I felt as if I was talking to no mans land. After adding a number of people to my friends list, I began to get more engaged with the conversations taking place on Twitter. Now, after a few months of refining my friends list, I’ve managed to garner good relationships with people on Twitter and I’ve discovering new content from their postings all the time. Now Twitter doesn’t seem like so much of a waste of time.

  2. Ingrid says:

    I had it exactly the same. I really didn’t see what I should use Twitter for. But as you say, it’s brilliant for small posts when you don’t have time for the longer ones.

    It also forces you to formulate your writing into a very limited space, which often is a challenge, I like that. And it is nice to meet new people on Twitter too.

  3. Ike says:

    I don’t feel like writing it out all over again, so I’ll just copy what I’ve said elsewhere:

    Twitter is a sheet. You can wear it as a toga, a sarong, a wrap, or you can just towel off with it and throw it in the washer. If I offered you a Toga, and you hated Togas, you’d reject it. Unless you were open-minded enough to see it as a liner for the dog’s house, or a drop-cloth for painting, or a ghost costume for your kid’s Halloween.

    Those who “hate” Twitter actually hate a very narrow application of the service, with no thought at all about its flexibility and versatility. Twitter is nimble, amorphous, and existential. It is not what it is, but what you want it to be.

    More here:

  4. reb says:

    i was of the same mindset as you and other posters here, particularly before i found more friends who were using it as well. it seemed redundant as i had a blog as well, but now those one-liner posts i used to slap up on my website are contained within twitter. i find it very useful and a little addictive. 🙂

  5. Chuck Adkins says:

    Welcome to the twitter world…

  6. Jason Heath says:

    I was skeptical of Twitter, thinking that it was just one more “thing to do” that would clutter up my day. I got hooked immediately, though, and have been using it daily for about six months now.

  7. I don’t see a need for it in my life, but I can see how others could benefit from such a system. I’d be really happy if bloggers that posted one-liners to their sites would just use something like Twitter instead. Loading up a 200K website with ads and images for 9 bytes worth of characters is such a waste 😕

  8. Yup, I was reluctant at first, too. I still don’t know WHAT drove me to sign up (just a couple of days ago), but I feel… I don’t know… Liberated?

    All kinds of small thoughts that I want to share but are too small to do a real blog post about, that’s what Twitter is perfect for. For me, at least. It saves me from having to do “brain dump” posts too often, yet without the guilt that comes from neglecting the little thoughts… =]

  9. I didn’t think I would like Twitter. It was like, what is the point? But Twitter has me hooked. It is nice to post something when I have a quick thought and then I can continue my day.

  10. Pingback: Microblogging with Twitter « /dev/random

  11. Fiona says:

    I find it most useful fgor when I have no internet access for awhile… and at work when I’m blocked from many sites!! 🙂

  12. Jake Bouma says:

    I wasn’t into twitter for a long time either, until I discovered its extensibility. I recently posted a guide called Tweet Better: 9 Unconventional (and Slightly Badass) Ways to use Twitter that outlines some cool uses for Twitter I’ve encountered.

    In experimenting further, I even started a new Twitter account for posting quotes from whatever book I’m reading currently at Very fun.

  13. Didio says:

    You must try TwitterFox.

  14. JamesK says:

    Seems to be pretty standard reactions from a lot of people here. My observations were that “in the beginning…” you either loved it or thought WTF!!
    Personally, I just didn’t care, like many here. One of my partners was on the negative extreme. Then, it slowly creeped in. I integrated Alex’s Twitter Tools to my site.
    Then I started using the Twitter IM agent.
    Then I installed the TwitterBar in my FF.
    And now I actually do a decent amount of twittering with my cell.

    Go figure!

  15. aca463 says:

    Welcome to the twitter world!!!
    I am very happy this pluging. it is fantastic!
    Thank very much!
    I do not understund this messages: You must click,….

  16. I tried it, quickly gave up on it. I didn’t regard it as useful tool since I did not really aim to make contacts. The plugin was good and I did consider using it to post asides. But I already do that on the blog so I just disabled AK’s plugin.

  17. John Morris says:

    I just started using twitter myself… It’s a little different, because it didn’t really seem to have any purpose (to me) at first. But, the more I use it… the more it seems like I’m getting hooked on it… guess that should be a sign (duh!). I haven’t really tried too many of the plugins… but, some of the ones you’re talking about sound pretty cool… especially the posting you have on the side of your blog. Thanks for the post!

    John Morris

  18. SJ says:

    I tried Twitter early on, found it boring, abandoned it. Picked it back up after numerous friends got on, gave it a month, dropped it again. I just don’t see a need to know what my friends are doing every minute of the day, nor to share my own minutiae with the world. Plus, I can’t use it at work anyway.

    I may check out some of these links to less conventional suggested uses, though.

  19. moby says:

    I’m hopelessly addicted to it. A very quick and flexible way to post a snapshot of the moment. Can be very insightful or boring. Really depends on how you use it.

  20. Ian Kath says:

    If you want to see an interesting use of Twitter check out

    A short story contributed by 140 people in no more than 140 characters.

  21. Pingback: OG's Blog » .

  22. Neil says:

    I really hated Twitter at first, and then I found it immensely useful and fun, sort of a quick version of IM and email. I liked the fact that a message could be either public or private. You are able to participate as much or as little as you want. However, like everything else, once you start adding on more and more “followers” and you become dependent on Twitter as a way to communicate with your “friends,” it loses some of the appeal. Do I really want to interact with people in 140 characters? How do I stop someone from talking about their lunch every day? Is everyone reading my Twitter rather than my blog?!

    Still, the simplicity of the application is very nice, much different than the chaos that is Facebook, where I got tired of being turned into a zombie, etc.

  23. I didn’t see much value in Twitter at first either, but I do use it… Here‘s my bit about it.

  24. Pingback: Around the web |

  25. Nick says:

    I’ve used Twitter as a way to post short updates for over a year, but decided to say Goodbye Twitter and implement the part of it’s functionality I used on my own site.

  26. Adam says:

    I like Twitter because it forces you to come up with a quick, one-line summary of what’s on your mind. If people have any writing talent, most of the time those lines are more effective than a blog.

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