Friday, May 01, 2009

Twitter is not for email

During the past month or so, I have realized people are beginning to use Twitter as their main form of communication. I am a regular Twitter user and follower, but do not keep it open on my desktop all day. I use it how it is intended to be used-- to post quick items of interest or respond with a short message to someone seeking help on a topic. And I think carefully before I answer, to determine whether the response is only useful for the questioner (and DM the answer) or if others might also benefit from the answer (and reply with the @questioner). I try not to clutter up the list with responses that are meaningless to most others. That is part of the Twetiquette (Twitter etiquette).

(Addendum: I was not implying above that people should not post "meaningless" (read "fun") items to Twitter. What I was referring to is the practice of replying to a post via an @username on the list when the actual answer only makes sense to the person who asked the question. It often does not make sense when one sees only an answer.)

I am starting to receive some of the reference questions I receive regularly from educators via Twitter. The direct messages from Twitter show up in my email inbox, and I then have to go open my Twitter client, locate the DM, and respond to the questioner.

It is easy to ask a question in 140 characters, but not so easy to answer with anything meaningful in that number of characters. So, I wind up DM'ing three or four separate messages to the questioner, including having to shorten a URL or two in the Twitter messages.

Twitter is not the place for that kind of communication, in my opinion. If you have a question that you want answered which you know will require me to search the Web and do some research, please don't send it via Twitter.

I am easy enough to find on the Web, and, if you don't have it, here is my email address:

I am always glad to help, but not always in 140-character bursts!