Still trying to wrap my head around twitter

Okay, here’s what feels like a Rube Goldberg method for members of a group to share info via twitter without following each other and without needing the web to read the tweets.

  • Go to and click follow
  • Post a message with an the agreed upon tag, preceded by the # symbol (called a “hash” in some dialects). An example:

Exec director interview to air on CNN tonight at 9:15 ET #myorg

  • Go to and get the RSS feed address for the hashtag — probably something like

Looks good in theory — hangup is that feedblitz complains that the twitter account name isn’t formatted as an e-mail address. Anyone see what I’m doing wrong or have an alternate strategy?

And there are several things I haven’t thought through … What’s the risk of a spammer glomming onto the tag? How do I separate some tags for special handling (i.e. send to the phone, not just the web). [Maybe take the RSS feed, connect it to a special twitter account and watch that?? Ouch.]

Interesting, if not completely successful, experiment with twitter

The previous post talked about the tweets appearing in the sidebar, but sometime before Convention, I moved them to a separate page, that you can find in the horizontal menu at the top of the page.

We didn’t do a good job of advertising this (ask me over a beer about the failed strategies), but a couple of us did post from a cell phone or blackberry to the web from the Convention Center.

One characteristic of the postings is that they are “transient” — that page is probably empty now.

We also had a technical glitch on Sunday/Monday that meant the “real-time” tweets from the convention floor (on the bylaws changes and the public policy debate) were lost in cyber-space somewhere. But it was a start.

Perhaps with the leadership meetings tentatively planned for next summer we’ll be able to exchange information among the different venues — and allow the folks “back home” to get the flavor of the event even if their schedules prevent them from attending.

Here are a few examples of what you would have seen if you’d gone to that “tweets” page or to the page during the convention.


What’s a “tweet”?

You may have noticed the new section at the bottom of the sidebar: Tweets.

I’m experimenting with as a backup plan for posting information from the AAUW Convention at the end of the month. The idea of Twitter is “micro-blogging” — the posts are limited to 140 characters, but that’s enough to say things like “look for the video of the plenary session — it was great” or “the bylaws change #1 passed” or …

Twitter can accept messages from the web or, here’s the key part, from cell phone text messages. If we can find a group of “twitterers” we can let folks know how to sign up for the “tweets” — or they can be posted (through an RSS feed) on various AAUW sites around the country.

Cell phones can be set up to send e-mail, but getting the blog software to read that e-mail (and, say, separate out the sender and the subject from the body and the pictures) is more complicated than posting a one-line message. We may get to that point, too — but at the rate my thumbs are learning text messages it’s not going to be for this Convention. Other more accomplished users of their cell phones are welcome to holler at me.

Stay tuned.

Twitter? or not

Hmmm… I’ve just come across It’s one more tool/environment that you apparently need to try before you can figure it out. As far as I can tell, it’s kind of like micro-blogging (without a permanent record) — or broadcast IM. On the other hand, Keith Peters, in the Bit-101 blog describes it as office background noise.

You notice these trivial things people are doing just like you notice Jim from accounting brought back Indian food for lunch.

Is this important for community building? For those of us who are connecting virtually, do we need a way to replace all those random inputs we get when we’re interacting in a physical space.

Will there be a “grand convergence” of all these different “social spaces”? Until then, how does one choose?

For now, I think not — but holler at me if you think I’m wrong.