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Blogging: How Twitter Has Helped & Hurt

image from farm4.staticflickr.comEven before the misinformation and hacking of the last few days, there's lots of chatter in recent weeks and months about how Twitter is broken -- no longer as useful or fun as it used to be. (Here's one of several examples, via Ezra Klein The problem with Twitter.)

My experience has been pretty mixed.Sometime last week, my main Twitter feed (alexanderrusso) reached 10,000 Twitter followers -- the product of more than 17,000 tweets over the past two or three years.  People used to ask about pageviews but now ask about Twitter followers.  I'm happy and proud to be reaching a bunch of folks (in theory, at least).

I started out just Tweeting out blog posts - and that's still roughly half of what you see coming out from my Twitter feed.  Then I started interacting on Twitter, retweeting things that seemed interesting and writing a few "original" messages out to friends and enemies.   Most recently, I started sending out "Five Best Blogs" via Twitter, since there seemed no point in collecting the best posts I found until the end of the day (and I turned out to be too lazy to copy and paste them back into a blog post when Happy Hour was so close at hand).  Most recently, I've been tweeting out things I find over the weekend, since I apparently don't have anything else to do.

The upside of the tool has been reaching and engaging with a broader audience who prefers short bursts of text vs. slightly longer blog posts.   The downside is having folks I don't follow or don't think offer much useful information tweeting at me all day -- their messages showing up in Hootsuite as "mentions" when in reality they're just trying to get my attention and bait me into responding to them.

This used to happen in comments, of course, but seems to have gotten worse in recent years -- partly for reasons having nothing to do with Twitter (the debate has become more polarized.) Speaking of comments, twitter has also lowered comments posted directly on the blog, since readers now want and expect their responses be out in the world (viewable via Twitter, Facebook, etc.)  My efforts to install social commenting have thus far been incomplete.

For whatever reasons, what happens less and less is me finding (or even looking for) good commentary or links on Twitter.  There are only so many columns you can set up on Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, and only so much time to follow along and hope not to have missed something good that came through five minutes earlier.  And of course there are so many more folks on Twitter, so much more blathering.  I like the equalizing/democratizing effect, and the theoretical access to new ideas and perspectives, but it's become a very noisy cafeteria.  Image via CCFlickr.


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I can relate to this topic because I’ve had a twitter for the last 3 years. When you put too much of your personal information out there, you’re giving other people access to your life. Twitter is a great way to interact with other people. With you having 17+ thousand followers, you get many types of opinions on your blogs. Some opinions are going to be good and some not so good and some are just “haters”. You have to remember to just ignore it and move on.

I still comment--I've never been a huge commenter at your blog; I really discovered the three of you in Twitter. But as someone who has just been on Twitter for nine months, I agree it does change things. For me, it has been almost all good--huge boost for a small blog. But I can see you having problems with people tweeting rather than commenting. That wouldn't be fun. I like comments.

I am about 3 months new to twitter and brand new to blogging. I honestly hate twitter,it seems that there are only kids tweeting about what they did last night.I recently closed my Facebook account because there was never anything of relevance being posted. Is this to be expected of all social media outlets?

Honestly i think that when people post their personal information, they have no reason to complain about what others say in response. Social media needs to be used for productive reasons, not to post inapproiate and hateful things. I dont like social media but those that do need to be careful. Things put online will be there forever and theres no way to take it back.

Honestly I dislike twitter, I believe it is mainly for the famous people that want to get their business off the ground. Yes, it appears that people are more focus on the followers

Twitter bored me to the core. I was astounded at how much some of my followers would tweeted and WHAT they would tweet. I mean some people will tweet their every waking movement. I felt that I was boring because I would tweet only once every couple of days...lol. But I have to admit, there were some good blogs that I read during my twitter trial. Some blogs were inspirational, sad, and funny. Some were HORRIBLE. I think people should be mindful of what they blog. If you're blogging things that you do not mind being found 10 years from now, then you can probably have a good experience with twitter and social networks alike.

Twitter is not as good as it used to be back when it first came out. Its just people tweeting stupidness, pictures, and being nosey on your timeline. Not to mention you get requests from people you dont know! i feel like some people that tried to follow me were creeps! Though it is a good way to promote things or blog! but i dont blog or promote anything so i find twitter really useless!

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