Friday, 3 June 2011

What I don’t get about Twitter

I'm still a relative novice at Twitter. I've really only been tweeting for a few months. I probably only tweet a few times a week, but this is mainly because I don't often feel that what I've got to say would be remotely interesting to anyone else!

I've found it useful in lots of ways. I've picked up on some really useful websites and other resources as a result of links in various tweets, such as elearning resources from @gconole. It's also been a good news stream for certain things that I wouldn't normally pick up on via mainstream sources, such as higher education (@timeshighered), construction economics (@brickonomics), and even a journalist's perspective on the goings on at Loftus Road (@davidmcintyre76).

However, whilst I'm glad I'm on Twitter, and I do value it, there are certain aspects of it which remain a bit of mystery to me. So, here are the top five things I just don't get about Twitter. 
1. Meaningless hashtags

I understand the principle of hashtags and I think it's one of the things that makes Twitter a potentially really useful tool. Adding a relevant hashtag means that users with common interests or a shared group can easily locate tweets which are relevant to them. Hence, I make use of #H807 for my Open University studies (because H807 is the module number) and #QPR to locate tweets about, yes, you've got it - QPR.

But could somebody please explain the point of hashtags like #wornoutbeforeistart #needsomesleep #lookingforwardtotheweekend ? What purpose do they serve? I just find them really annoying.

    2. Follow Friday

I thought "Follow Friday" (#FF) was supposed to be used to recommend people you follow to others. I also thought that you were supposed to state why you are recommending them. So why does every Friday produce a deluge of tweets that contain "#FF" followed by a whole string of Twitter names with no reason to follow them?

3. Being followed by random people 
Why would someone who has no connection with me whatsoever want to follow me? I could understand if we had something in common, but there doesn't seem to be any reason at all for some people to follow me. Strange.

4. Banal tweets
I must confess that I've tweeted occasionally about something that just happens and you feel the need to tell someone. But really .... am I seriously interested in the fact that you are wondering what to have for dinner this evening or that you're on a coffee break. Why do people think that anyone would want to know that?

5. Retweeting everything 
Like hashtags, retweeting is a really useful tool. If I see a tweet from someone that I follow which contains a link to a useful resource, then the obvious thing to do is retweet it. But some people's tweets seem to only consist of retweets. If all they do is retweet other people's tweets then maybe they've missed the point of Twitter in the first place.


So there you are. As useful as Twitter is, I think these points will continue to bug me. Having said that - I'm still discovering new ways of using Twitter, and I'm keen to experiment with using it in connection with my teaching.