UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

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A Twitter Feed For This Blog

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 Dec 2009

A Twitter Account For This Blog

A few days ago I created the @ukwebfocus Twitter account which will provide an automated feed of posts from this blog. But isn’t the point of Twitter the conversation and the community? So why have I created a new Twitter account which seemingly contradicts the reasons for Twitter’s success?

The Background

The answer to that question can be found in a discussion between myself, Stephen Downes and Kerry Johnson.  A few days ago Stephen Downes, a well-known Canadian elearning guru,  responded to my blog post on “Can Your Blog Survive Without Twitter?“. Stephen argued that as he uses a variety of channels (blogs. email, Web resources, etc.) for him “there’s no one thing that is ‘my blog’“. He went on to add that “People who focus on size of audience, impact via Tweetmeme, or similarly mass-based metrics, are working with an old-media paradigm, which is about broadcast rather that network“, arguing that the important thing is the act of “participation“.

I responded by saying that “although I would agree that in many cases blogs are about facilitating a conversation across one’s network, without visitors one can’t have the conversation“. Kerry Johnson pointed out that “I know for some people, Twitter has replaced RSS” and went on to suggest that “One option might be to set up a Twitter stream specifically for auto-posting, saving your already established Twitter account for personal/professional discussions. That way, people would have a choice and know what they’re getting and you wouldn’t feel compromised“.

And this is what Stephen did, creating the @oldaily Twitter account which won’t overlap with Stephen’s @downes Twitter identity – @oldaily will be used for to alert people to new OLDaily posts.  And I’ve done likewise, with the ukwebfocus Twitter account. I have used the Twitterfeed.com service so that new posts on this blog are automatically announced via the Twitter account. In addition to providing notification of new blog posts I have also added an RSS feed of my forthcoming events. As can be seen the service uses the title of the feed and the description, but truncates this content to allow a short URL to be included in the 140 characters:

Empowering Users and Institutions: A Risks and Opportunities Framework for Exploiting the Social Web: Brian Kel.. http://bit.ly/6rXh3f

Twitter – For Conversations and Broadcasting

Are Stephen and I subverting the conversational aspects of Twitter which have led to its success and its effectiveness in supporting conversations and, for me and many in my Twitter community,  informal discussions and professional activities?

I would argue that rather than subverting this use case for Twitter, we are making use of another use case, for simple dissemination, which can complement its conversational role.

And I myself  have found such one-way broadcasting using Twitter useful – I subscribed to the Premier League football scores when that was first made available on Twitter (although, due to licensing reasons, that services was withdrawn).

If you are considering making use of Twitter in your organisation or as an individual I feel you will need to clarify how you will use it. Will it be you as an individual, you as a dissemination channel for your work or a team using Twitter again possibly as a conversational medium or as a dissemination channel.

Or, as I have now appreciated, you may wish to use Twitter for both conversations and for broadcasting. Anyone else doing likewise?

4 Responses to “A Twitter Feed For This Blog”

  1. Is there a link for the events feed?

  2. Hi Stephen
    Links to my various RSS feeds are available from http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/rss/

  3. Meh. Adding a blog-specific twitter feed to act like another version of rss seems like a Good Idea, though I’ll probably always stop by this site anyway.

    I read the posts and exchange. Stephen says “my blog could ‘survive’ without Twitter because there is no particular entity that needs to ‘survive'” and concludes that people concerned about their blogs are “working with an old-media paradigm” instead of involving themselves in “things that are genuinely larger (and more important) than themselves.” That seems needlessly dismissive of blogs that are entities.

    My blog is a platform for on-going shared reflections, and a repository of past reflections. If his blog is naught but a conversation that could be held as well by email or twitter, that’s fine. It has nothing to do with me.

    * mutters darkly *

    What matters to me is content – mine, your, theirs – which can transcend a particular conversation or conversational moment.

    You and I will probably never text or twitter one another, Brian. We live and work in different fields, on different continents, for different reasons. Nonetheless, the content created here sometimes overlaps a point of interest for me, and I mine this resource accordingly.

    (Did I mention that dissing people for being all about audience is dismissive of their audience as well?)

    One more point – then I’ll stop waving my arms – about that whole old-media-is-bad, new-media-is-good stuff:

    A year or more ago, a blog site addressed to adult literacy and basic education workers posted a series of questions about working in that field. We responded, to the posts and each other, through the comment function. It was conversation, yes, and it was terrific. But, being (relatively) “new media” this discussion had/has to be accessed one screen-load at a time, and is still only available online. It would be more useful for in-house professional development sessions or training purposes if the discussion were reworked into a text file or even a sourced journal article that could be printed out, photocopied, passed around. In other words, this valuable resource is less valuable because it’s not “old media” enough.

    Conversation is conversation. Content is content. Thks for creating and sharing. :)

  4. […] apassionant entre twitter i blogging, Brian Kelly ha resumit idees clares en la seva entrada A Twitter Feed For This Blog i sobretot a Can Your Blog Survive Without Twitter? Jo encara estic en fase experiental en la meva […]

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