Monday, March 16, 2009

Follow you, follow me...

I admit that I joined Twitter not having a clue what it was all about. For approximately a month now I have been tweeting, trying to figure it out.

My first followers were an SEO and other techies. I signed up to follow them, and I have learned a lot from what they post. They are currently at SXSW, a social networking conference in Austin (thank you Google for that information), and I've gotten ideas about how I can use this tool in various aspects of my life.

I then figured out how to make my tweets update my status on Facebook. This accomplishment led to the stream of "Pascale is..." posts that have increased the breadth of my followers. One night I posted that I was sitting down to enjoy a great old flick on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Next thing I know, TCManiacs is following me. I signed on as a follower, and found out that all sorts of interesting sites and the daily theme and schedule are posted. What a great idea! As a classic film buff, this service alone makes me happy to be one of the tweeple!

Of course, as I look at what I post, I realize how mundane most of it is. As a physician-scientist many of my friends and family members think my professional life is exciting. Not true! Most of it comes out like, "finished at first hospital; now time for second institution." Or today's question: "Is anyone in Omaha still peeing?*" Yet people read these and sign up to follow. Makes me worry about some of them, cause I wouldn't generally follow the stuff I am writing.

Which makes me wonder why I'm writing it. In part, it's because I am still feeling my way through microblogging. Part of me still doen't entirely "get it," so I just keep plugging away. On the other hand, I've gotten a feel for some utility in just about a month, so maybe someday I will understand the rest of it!

Last week, there was a newstory in the tweets of one of my followees. A guy had been arrested, and he was described by his job titles followed by "He has 1,800 followers on Twitter." Is this a new factoid for our bios? Is it good to have 1,800 souls hanging on your every 140 character utterance?

One thing I did learn quickly was NOT to have every tweet SMS'd to my Blackberry. Instead, I pull up my feed periodically and read it when I feel like it. Otherwise I think I would go mad. I mean, do I really want to know that Bell, Book, and Candle was on this afternoon while I was working? When I can't do anything productive with the information?

If you have any other good uses of Twitter, please comment! I'm still learning about this phenomenon. In the meantime, remember that I am a Professor of Pediatrics with 15 followers on Twitter! (I finally made double digits this week!)

*I am a pediatric nephrologist, so this is a highly relevant professional question.

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