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read_me.gif Southern Voice Washington Blade

Danah Boyd’s Twitter Questions

She asked, I answered

by j. brotherlove

Questions about Twitter asked by danah.

First, the practical question. Can i quote you?

[X] Yes, and you must use my real name.

Why do you use Twitter? What do you like/dislike about it?

I use Twitter to express short thoughts about whatever is going on in my day. I also use it to ask questions like what sort of phone I should buy or how to code something in CSS. Occasionally, I’ll use Twitter to comment about what I’m watching on television with others who are watching the same program.

On the downside, Twitter is experiencing growing pains which causes the site and service to stutter or just plain stop at times. It’s not the end of the world (it’s free, after all). But I do get mildly ticked when my latest tweet doesn’t go through or I suddenly get an onslaught of 30 backlogged tweets.

Also, it can be distracting which is why my use is inconsistent. I’ll twitter a couple times an hour then skip the rest of the day. It depends on what’s going on and how much I need to concentrate on the task at hand.

Who do you think is reading your Tweets? Is this the audience you want? Why/why not? Tell me anything you think of relating to the audience for your Tweets.

I haven’t gone private with Twitter so anyone can read them. But I doubt if many would find my updates interesting outside of my friends (and even then). I’ve never thought much about an “audience”. Although I’d like to communicate with more LGBT folk.

How do you read others’ Tweets? Do you read all of them? Who do you read/not read and why? Do you know them all?

I read all tweets from my friends and most of the ones from people I’m following (although not always at the time they send them). Most of the people I follow on Twitter I have met in person. Occasionally I’ll see an @message and check out the tweets of somebody I don’t know.

Most days I’m designing/developing websites so I usually read tweets at I tried Twitter through IM but it hasn’t worked reliably in some time. I just bought a new phone with better SMS capabilities so perhaps I will give phone updates another try. Receiving constant updates on my phone is a bit weird and intrusive to me.

What content do you think is appropriate for a Tweet? What is inappropriate? Have you ever found yourself wanting to tweet and then deciding against it? Why?

I think of Twitter much like blogging. In that respect, it’s up to the individual. For me, I generally cap it at light cursing. Extremely graphic updates can be funny at times but I steer away from them. It’s easy for any user to determine if somebody’s tweets are worth following so “appropriate” is relative in my opinion. I’ve thought twice about sending a few tweets either because I felt they were too personal or seemed pointless.

Are your Tweets public? Why/why not? How do you feel about people you don’t know coming across them? What about people you do know?

My tweets are public. But I pretty much tweet as if my friends are the only ones who will read them. I’ve thought about making them private but decided I really don’t share anything I wouldn’t tell a stranger (I’m more outspoken on my blog.). I’m flattered when people I don’t know follow my tweets because I don’t think my updates are particularly unique.

What do i need to know about why Twitter is/is not working for you or your friends?

Overall, I love twitter. It somehow works for me better than IM or regular chat. I’m impressed with the number of mashups and apps that Twitter has inspired. I wish there was a better way of grouping individuals and deciding on a per-friend basis how to recieve their updates (web, IM, phone, all). Most of my offline (and several online) friends are not interested in Twitter and that’s fine with me.

pub: 05/03/2007 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 1 | subscribe
1. Didi

Thanks for sharing this. I was thinking about joining Twitter when I heard about it in April. My self-consciousness led me to decline joining. But reading this piques my interest again!

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