Ok, I’m late, but I was on holiday last week – I reserve the right to pay not the slightest bit of attention to work-type things while I’m meant to be relaxing. Or in this case, painting, birthday attending, painting, sanding, painting, cleaning, painting, carpet shampooing, painting, and home-for-sale-listing.
I was a bit busy.
So, Twitter, RSS feeds and Pushnote, eh?
I think I’ve pretty much got a good grip on Twitter – I’ve been on there 4 years or so, and have built up some good relationships through meeting people on it. From the start, my account has been a protected one, so only those who I approve can read what I tweet, and I don’t use my real name, or identify my employer. I did this deliberately – I don’t want the personal account that I created (where I am very informal, and more “personal” than anywhere other than Facebook) to be linked to my workplace. I like to have a slight disconnect from my work life: you can find this blog from my Twitter bio, but not the other way around, so you can’t find me professionally (here) and then try and know me personally (Twitter).
This means the people I have a relationship with on Twitter are those I feel I can trust, and I can get on well with.
So, when I get follow requests, I go look at their profile, and assess a few things:
- Do they have a picture?
No picture, they’re just a faceless blob/egg? Marked down!
- Have they filled out their bio?
Have they given me some sort of information to say who they are/what they like/if it’s a work or personal account?
- Do we share contacts?
If we have mutual contacts, I’m far more likely to allow a follow request, as they’ve effectively been vetted by others first.
- Do they actually tweet?
Twitter’s a social tool. If the requester’s only posted 3 tweets in a week, how am I meant to develop any sort of interaction and relationship with them? If I’m not online when they tweeted those occasional tweets, I’m never going to get the chance to start to chat to them.
- Do they have a sense of humour?
I talk a lot of nonsense on Twitter. If people want to follow me, they can’t be too serious, or they’ll end up unfollowing me in irritation at my waffling, and then I’ll find out weeks later when I do my occasional check if I’ve been unfollowed (no point in talking to people that you don’t realise can no longer read what you’re saying), and I have to unfollow them. Easier to save all that effort by just rejecting the initial request.
Twitter’s excellent for me in terms of picking up information: I immediately know the top news and political topics, I follow various useful local information accounts, and I have asked for (and got) some excellent help when needed…but it’s not where I go for my professional and in-depth information. For that, I use RSS feeds.
I’ve been using RSS feeds for a few years now, and I pretty much spend a large amount of my day working with them. I currently use Google Reader, after the demise (and too-late rebirth) of Bloglines. I currently have 76 work-related feeds, 40 library feeds (with more library feeds in a second, non-work RSS reader account). Monitoring and using the information from the work feeds takes up a large amount of my work time, as this information forms the basis of our internal Current Awareness service, a supplement to those provided by the subscription services we purchase. After my week off, my unread items count is sitting at 1000+ (Greader stops listing at 1000, so I have no idea how many actual unread items there are above that), so keeping on top of them is a demanding task.
The feeds are split into Government (a priority to deal with), Legal (second priority – covers Law Society news, legal reporting and discussions etc), Intellectual Property, and Library. Library feeds are read only in bursts, or in breaks – the work items come first. That’s also why I moved some Library feeds into a personal Greader account that I use at home…but by the end of a day wrangling feeds, I don’t tend to want to look at more at home, so I’ve started shifting these back to my work Greader account.
I am always looking to find new, useful and reliable source feeds to add to my RSS subscriptions, but I also have to be careful about how I manage them. When I do manage to get it down to zero unread items, within minutes a new item will have appeared, so the temptation to sit and do RSS feed material non-stop to keep the unread items count clear is strong. I have to make sure I don’t spend all my time dealing with the constant influx of information there, and ignore it once I’ve done a certain amount in the morning, and again in the afternoon. In this case, there’s no option for me to “mark all as read” (which I do in my personal Greader when they get overwhelming) – I must check all these feeds for relevant information.
RSS feeds are great…as long as you remember not to let them overwhelm you!
To be honest, I’m not even going to look at Pushnote in any detail, it just doesn’t have any appeal for me. I’m not a big “work related” websites sharer: perhaps this is a tool more suited to an academic library environment, rather than a commercial one, where the emphasis is on getting things done fast rather than sharing reading material.
I also don’t like the idea that Pushnote could share my comments via my feed on Twitter or Facebook. If I occasionally post a link in Twitter or Facebook, it’s usually for light entertainment. I don’t look at the Shared items option in Google Reader, and I get irritated when other users start bombarding Twitter with their shared items. If I want to know what things and webpages other people like, I’ll go looking, or ask them – I object to others choices being foisted onto me, and have unfollowed people on Twitter who did that, so I sure as hell ain’t going to start “pushing” my recommendations on anyone else.
I’ve also read that it’s hard to get your account deleted or removed, so for someone who likes to shut down unused accounts, this does not inspire confidence or trust in me. So sorry, but no ta!