Earlier this month I found myself apologizing for some errant tweets that ended up in my Twitter stream1, and realizing that I had fallen into a pattern of sorts thought it would be useful to document. (This post, too, will be a good one to use as the ‘website’ link on my Twitter profile.) So here it goes. If you are following me on Twitter, these are the things you’ll see, in order of probability — from most likely to least likely.
Broadcast of Interesting Links
My primary use of Twitter is as a place to broadcast links to interesting web pages. “Interesting” is, of course, relative, but the sort of things you’ll see are technology, libraries, privacy and threats to privacy, copyright and publishing models, useful software and web tools, and current news (where ‘news’ is most definitely not defined as what is happening with pop culture icons). New blog posts also result in a tweet because DLTJ posts tend to be long form explorations of of these topics (particularly the Thursday Threads series).
The text of tweets are almost always the web page title, a vertical bar, and the name of the website. In cases where this is not descriptive enough, I’ll insert explanations or commentary in square brackets.2
Most tweets of this type are posted through Pinboard, the social bookmarking tool. I migrated to Pinboard when the Delicious shutdown scare happened and have never looked back. I also subscribe to the archive option to make stuff easier to find again. (Someday I’d like to take the archive of web pages from Pinboard and import them into an instance of ThinkUp, but that’s a blog post for another day.) The RSS feed of my newly bookmarked items in Pinboard is fed into Twitter using dlvr.it.
Another source of tweets is a feed from my Zotero library. I use Zotero for things that are scholarly and likely to show up in a bibliography in a future paper. I’m also using dlvr.it to route my Zotero library RSS feed into Twitter. As a nice side effect, Pinboard is also watching and archiving my Twitter stream, so I’ll get a copy of the documents saved there as well.
Conference Event Liveblogging
This happens on occasion. It will depend on if the nature of the talk is conducive to live blogging, whether there is WiFi and laptop power available (I can type faster than I can thumb a virtual keyboard), and whether I have the energy to listen and compose 140 character messages at the same time. These tweets will use an event hashtag, so hopefully they are easy for non-interested followers to ignore or filter out.
Occasional Twitter Chatter
TweetDeck is almost always running on my desktop, but it is usually buried beneath several layers of windows. Still, if you are looking to get ahold of me quickly, mentioning my handle in a tweet will fire a desktop notification and I’ll check it out. I’ll bring TweetDeck to the front on occasion and see what is going on. My biggest use of Twitter, though, is a source of interesting things to read via and Flipboard. (I find the algorithms for Zite and Flipboard are different enough that both surface good content.) So I’m counting on all the people I’m following on Twitter to be doing something like what I’m doing.
This one is at the bottom of the possibility list because it has never happened. I harbor this desire to be a citizen reporter of some important news event (again, “news event” is emphatically not defined as a sighting of Hollywood stars or the like), so I have a Ustream app configured to automatically start broadcasting and sending tweets. But, other than a few tests, I haven’t happened across anything worthy of putting this chain of technology in motion. As an aside, my content is usually posted with a Creative Commons By-ShareAlike license, so on the off-chance that I do send out something that is newsworthy and news outlets have read this far, please respect my license and reuse terms request.
Unless it is a picture of Kim Kardashian, in which case: please rip the keyboard/tablet/smartphone from my hands.
- The problem turned out to be a forgotten automatic posting of blog posts into Delicious. When I was cleaning up links in posts using, these post changes were being added as new posts into Delicious and another service was automatically posting new delicious links to Twitter. [↩]
- Sort of like how AACR2 says to use square brackets when transcribing information for an item in hand. Who said I never learned anything in cataloging class? [↩]