Twitter Productivity

Twitter Productivity

I’ve been using Twitter dilligently over the past couple days, and it’s been fun, but not too fun. Every once in a while I glance over at it to see what people are saying, inadvertently learning quite a bit about what’s hot on the Internet. I witness people taking meals, getting sick, going out, coming back from meetings, grumbling about what they’re working on, and exulting about things that are going well. It’s pretty astonishing at how well this plugs a certain void in my daily routine, without disrupting it too much.

An interesting thing happened tonight as I was thinking about heading upstairs to watch some TV. I saw a few people break off to go watch TV, collect a pizza, and so forth, but there were a fair number of people who were working. So I decided to stay up and work a little too…heck, other people were working on cool stuff, so I figured I would bang on my website a bit. And so I did, spending a bit of time adjusting the typography on my new theme (it’s based on K2; you can see the staging site at if you’re interested in seeing the mess things are in right now). You know how it’s easier to work in the office if other people are working next to you? This had a very similar effect. Eerie!

It’s also very strange how I’m getting to know people through their twitterings. I’ve been making it a policy of adding everyone who adds me, just to see just how far this can go before it hits overload. I guess the people who I’ve added happen to be people who mostly work on stuff. This is way better than Instant Messaging or sitting on the IRC channel. The Twitter style of interaction is a usable side-channel of chatter, encouraging people to just emit information one-way without the expectation of receiving an immediate reply. IRC and AIM, by comparison, carry with it the expectation of two-way conversation. Twitter is also a kind of performance space, because your tweets help create the shared social context. The odd thing is that your twitterspace is shaped by who you’re following, which isn’t the same from person to person.


  1. Chris Harrison 17 years ago

    As somebody who follows you (and tries not to bother you on IM too much!)… I too enjoy seeing what other people are up to. I’m still trying to figure out how I want to use Twitter… That’s one of the cooler things about it: no two people use Twitter the same way. Some people use it to micro-blog, others use it to just update what they are doing; others still use it to share news and events; etc… Some people don’t get Twitter… and that’s alright, but those that do know you don’t have to get it… because there isn’t anything to get… it just is whatever we want it to be. :)

  2. Jaimie 17 years ago

    I totally agree.  I also like the fact that you can see others and have a sense of working in a larger community.  I work a lot of the time up at our house in the country so like seeing others working away as you have commented.

    When I first saw Twitter I did not get it but after using it for a while it is cool and as Chris mentioned you can use it the way that you want.

    It will be interesting to see what spins out from it.

  3. annie 17 years ago

    I’ve noticed the exact same thing. I’ve been inspired by some of the people I’ve been following in Twitter, and I’ve been more productive in the past couple weeks. I’ve connected with bloggers I read (like you) in a different way, and I’ve discovered a ton of resources I never new about, especially during SXSW.

    @Chris, I think you’re right on target. Twitter’s just a tool, how you use it is entirely personal and it’s really interesting to watch it start to evolve.

  4. Corrie 17 years ago

    I wonder if the twitterers you saw working online on a Thursday night were just in a different time zone…? :) Maybe you were more productive than you realized!

  5. Venomous Kate 17 years ago

    Ah, see. I’d added you as a Twitter friend based on your Japanese food comment—I love Japanese food! Now I know why you added me in return, particularly since I don’t “work on stuff.”

    Having said that, I’m glad to have discovered your site. I’m learning about “stuff” … and craving Macallan Sherry Oak for the first time in YEARS!

  6. Robert 17 years ago

    Twitter productivity? Surely, that’s an intentional oxymoron…