Posted by: iainduncani | February 6, 2010

Why Twitter made me blog

Hello, World!  I’ve finally caved to pressure from those around me (namely Gavin, Jay, Ed & James) and decided to start a blog.  As seems to be the norm amongst new bloggers I feel my first post should be about why I’ve decided to start one and what I’ll be talking about.

I must admit that I have always been quite sceptical about the Web 2.0 world.  You would think that as a bona-fide geek (I’m a software engineer working for IBM and did a Physics degree – I don’t think it is possible to get geekier than that) that I would have embraced this new technological era with enthusiasm.  From a technology point of view of do think that it is really exciting and love seeing what new features really hit a cord with people, however, the thought of sharing all my thoughts with the world has always put me off, for instance I’m still not on Facebook which most people think is very strange.  So, what is it that has made me change my mind?  It is mainly down to the one Web 2.0 technology that I have started using – Twitter.  I started using Twitter back in June about the same time as several other people in my department at work and I have really enjoyed finding out various bits of information.  I think the thing that I really like about Twitter is the way that you can discover information about such a wide range of topics.  I follow other people in my team so find out what they are working on or have found useful; I follow other people in IBM and get to hear about new stuff going on across the whole organization (very useful in a company of over 300,000 people!); there are also distant friends that I don’t get to see in person very often; as well as following various technology specific tweeters to find out about various open source projects such as JavaFX and JSF and finally I follow charities and get to find out about the latest campaigns that are going on out there.  Of course all of this information was already available to me through the joys of the internet but having the parts that I was interested in delivered to me in a short summary form I found very exciting.

All of these things make Twitter a great technology for pulling information off and I think that is mostly how I have used it I’ve so far averaged a measly 1 post per day.  Having said that as well as enjoying taking content from it I have also found it quite liberating having an outlet to vent on various topics that I care about.  I think the final revelation for me was when one of my posts (“Typical Tories, not one of them supports the “let them work” campaign for asylum seekers – http://tinyurl.com/yenexjv” – a topic that I will revisit shortly) got retweeted by someone from IBM and I suddenly realized that people actually read and maybe even care the things that I tweet about.  As I said earlier, Twitter is great for giving a summary of information but it does fall down when it comes to stating opinion in detail on a topic.  I often find myself reacting to other peoples tweets or topical news stories through my tweets but find it impossible to summarise my thoughts in just 140 characters (as you will probably guess by the length of this post!) and restricting it to such a short amount often over-dramatises complex topics such as the one I copied above.  It is for this reason Twitter that is making me blog.  It has made me realize that although I would often like to keep my privacy in this increasingly public world there are certain topics that I do feel passionate about (well, slightly care about at the very least) and would like to put my view forward on.

So what are these topics that I want to talk about?  Most of them you can probably guess from my initial preamble, I’m interested in various technologies although I primarily work in Java at the moment I am trying to learn about JavaFX at the moment but I am also interested in the industry in general.  I’m also really interested in politics at the moment especially with the election coming up.  Our vegetable plot is entering its second growing season so I’m hoping to talk about that as well as enjoying board games and walking.

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