23 tweets?

USQ 23 Things is into its second week and the topic is Twitter. The post for this week provides a basic description of Twitter, suggests ways that it might be used for academic work, and explains how to get started. Our task is to join Twitter (done some years and 6000+ tweets ago), follow some new people from the 23 Things group (done), send a tweet with the #usq23things hashtag (done), find an interesting article and tweet a link to it (done), comment on the USQ 23 Things blog post with my handle (done), and reflect in my blog about the activities (doing that here).

I confess I was a Twitter sceptic when I first signed up to use it during the SITE conference in 2009. There was limited Twitter activity at the conference that year and it was a while before I discovered how useful Twitter could be for turning up resources for teaching and research. I’m now a regular user and Twitter is a major source of material to feed my professional and general news interests.

One of my more interesting finds, and now a regular source of news, is former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser @MalcolmFraser12. He seems to spend much more time than I have available scanning major newspapers and tweeting links to articles he considers worth reading. Forty years ago I probably would not have been interested in anything that Malcolm had to say. The years must have changed one or both of us because now I find myself aligned with him more often than not.

USQ 23 Things recommends Tweetdeck or Hootsuite as clients. I use neither of those. Because I use Macs in the office and at home and my iPhone or iPad to access Twitter I prefer a client that will synchronise my timeline across multiple devices. I used Echofon for a couple of years but for the past year or two I’ve been using Tweetbot. Both have worked well for me.

I do retweet and occasionally fire off tweets about what I am doing and I do try to tweet from conferences, as much to focus my attention as anything, but much of my Twitter activity is generated remotely. When I find resources on the web I store them in Diigo and arrange for them to be automatically posted to this blog daily. The blog posts a tweet whenever a new post goes up and I have IFTTT set to tweet when a new URL is stored in Diigo. I also use Selective Tweets to post any tweet with a #fb hashtag to Facebook and I use the #yam hashtag to send selected tweets to the USQ Yammer network.

I wondered at first what I’d use Twitter for. Now I wonder what I’d do without it.