Is Twitter all That?

I use Twitter every day, but being I have about a million other things to do, like work! I do not have time to follow the ever updating stream of information. Sure I take a look 3 or 4 times a day but I do not live on Twitter.

Some have made the argument that because of Twitter and Facebook, that RSS and RSS Readers specifically are dead. I find this ridiculous because in the world that I live in, along with the 6000 people we represent, without RSS we would be out of business.

Most of the luminaries saying this are individuals with significant influence in the online space. They are often privy to information before the news even breaks, and have significant online followings. Robert Scoble is one of many that has been on the RSS is dead campaign I like Robert and respect his opinions, one thing for sure he obviously has significant connections in the valley. Could his influence and connections be skewing his perception about how important RSS and RSS Readers still are? Not all of us live in that circle of influence. Robert attributes Twitter as his primary source of news and information.

The question to ask is how is he getting that info. I have 5k followers, and only get 1 or 2 direct messages a day. So from my perspective news and information is not coming from the followers maybe this why he made the following statement. Robert made it clear in a recent blog post about the new Twitter design that he could care less about his followers.

This is shocking out of context, but when you read what he has to say about the new design, Robert says it does not do enough to improve the functions of lists. Robert has a number of lists, those lists is where he gleans most of his news and information. That information is largely from those that “he” follows not those that follow him. So what he is saying without saying it, is to only pay attention to those you follow and ignore the rest. Which in my conclusion is why he says he could care less about his followers?

We all know the volume of chatter on twitter is staggering and impossible to keep up with, I follow a lot of people largely because they follow me, maybe I have been using Twitter incorrectly. For me it’s too time consuming to build lists, if there was a easier way to really separate the wheat from the chaff, then Twitter would become more valuable to me.

I like Twitter, but it is not my main source of news and information. I get that from a handful of websites and about 1000 other unique blogs I follow in Google Reader. Google Reader gives me one thing Twitter is not able to do. Google Reader guarantees I will not miss something while I have been working, and I can look back at the days news and get my self caught up. I react like everyone else about the big news events. But I still like to dig around in the weeds for the rest of the story.

Until twitter finds a way to feed me a steady stream of info that I want without a lot of hassle, then the RSS Reader will continue to be my daily source of news and information. 140 characters is never enough. Twitter will never replace blogs if you think it will try and grab a tweet you made 2 years ago off of Twitter.

The Importance of Linking

I was listening to an audio post by Robert Scoble on Cinch about how increasingly sites are either not using external links at all or are hiding them. This is done in an effort to keep the reader within the website, and increase page hits. As he said this is how the internet was prior to the advent of blogging, when the internet was dominated by a few major websites or walled gardens as they are often called. The introduction of blogs which quickly realized that linking was one way to rise up Google‘s ranks broke these old walled gardens down. Unfortunately, new walled gardens are being recreated often by the same blogs who once torn the original ones down.

Without proper linking it is next to impossible to find and read the original article. As a reader I find this trend troubling, since it makes it difficult if not impossible to find where information originated from. I occasionally will find that the original article doesn’t say what is being attributed to it. It is misquoted or important information from it is left out. This often happens with controversial subjects, where the author is trying to make a specific point. If there are no links then I have to assume that the information given has not been altered to change the meaning. Even if you are being true to the meaning of the originating post, the author of that post deserves to be recognize for their effort. How would you feel if you spent the time and effort to research and write an article only to find the content being used else where without any acknowledgment to your work.

Almost as troubling as having no links, is having a link that goes to a site or article that is behind a pay wall or one where I have to register. I realize that sometimes it impossible to avoid this problem, but I do wish it was. This is of course one of the many problems that the use of a pay wall creates for both those who create content on the web and those who consume it.
I understand that sometimes it is easy to forget to link, especially when you are in a hurry to post something that is time sensitive. I have been guilty of this myself in the past and it is something that I have to watch. Before posting check to make sure you have linked where appropriate, also check to make sure the links go to where they are supposed to.