Thank you, my Twitter Editors!
I am writing this on Thanksgiving day, and it is only appropriate that I will start my blogging experience with a “Thank You”. It goes out to my Twitter editors. Who are they? The people I follow on Twitter. Some people call them “Twitter friends”, but I think “Twitter Editors” is more appropriate. Let me explain.
Twitter is a “microblogging” online service. It means you can write 140-character short notes that your “followers” will see — the people that want to be informed by what you write. And you read the notes of the people you follow. To distinguish between the two, researchers often refer to this second group as your Twitter “friends“.
The way I use Twitter, is by selecting carefully who to follow. I choose to follow people that (a) talk about issues I care, and (b) they do not talk much when they do not have something to say. I do not filter out those I disagree, because they often have interesting things to say. Finding good editors is not automatic, but it is worth the effort.
These days my research interests are mainly around the technical evolution of the Social Web, the propagation of information and misinformation in social and traditional media, graph algorithms and visualization, the state of the Computer Science and Media Arts and Sciences education, and epistemology of knowledge (how do you know what you know). You can see details of my interests in my web page.
I want to be able to follow developments in all of the above areas, but that’s very difficult: It means that I would have to scan the news from numerous publications and sources hoping to find interesting articles that I should read. That requires a lot of time and effort on a daily basis. I can’t do it while keeping my sanity.
Here is where my Twitter Editors come in: They are also interested in some of the issues I am, and they tweet about them. They put effort into choosing the 140 characters of a tweet and they often provide a link to the original source. Very often, they point me to some piece of information that I would have missed. And I try to return the favor: I am also trying to be a good editor for those who follow me. I think it is a fair deal, one that increases the quality in the overflow of information we are experiencing.
Being Greek, I also care a lot about the current situation and dialogs in my native country. But I cannot do it with a single Twitter account, since my followers would see items written in a language they may not be able to read. Likely, they may not care, either. So, I have a second Twitter account for issues related to Greek culture and politics. Of course, I choose my Greek Twitter editors with the same criteria.
Twitter, unlike Facebook, allows you to separate your friends and followers, and this is what makes it possible to create your group of Editors. This is also the reason I do not use Facebook (though I have an account). The signal-to-noise ratio in Facebook is too low for me.
I am sure that there are many models on using Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and the other popular social network services, I am just describing the model that works for me. I highly recommend it. But it only works thanks to my Editors. Thank you!