I just got back from an informal local blogger lunch that included Tony Accardi, Jackie Doherty, Richard Howe, Cliff Krieger, and me. (Note to all who missed it: There's a consensus agreement that we should do another one down the road, and that we should shoot for a weekend...stay tuned because I'll post on the idea again in a couple months).
Of course, we talked a lot about the New New Media, which naturally included a quick Twitter lesson (a Twittorial?) from Dick and Tony to the non-initiated in the group.
For those who haven't heard about it, it's a way for people to give quick bits of information (limited to 140 characters max) out about what they're doing at any given time, what's going on in their community, or just any random thoughts that pop into their mind. It was great for me because a) I got to learn about something I didn't previously understand; and, b) it helps me to answer a question I came into the lunch today with -- how on earth to sort through the mass of information in the blogosphere.
Simply put, I really believe there are more blogs out there than there are people to read them. By nature, then, any blogger and/or blog reader has to limit themselves to what they can reasonably read/keep up with on a regular basis. My quick shorthand is whether I actually learn something. Interesting commentary or snippets of local news that I'm not going to get anywhere else, and I'm sold. Dear Diary-type of stuff, or any other personal stuff that comes without any broader commentary or ideas, and I tune out pretty quick. Readability is important too -- brevity and punctuation are both pluses, ceteris paribus.
That's why I'm sold on Twitter. I probably won't become a "follower" of many people's individual Tweets, but when it's done in a community forum sort of way (and thanks to today's lunch, I've learned that the #Lowell thread serves that purpose), it's a one-stop shop worth checking. Someone might Tweet on something that's not worthy of a blog entry in and of itself (i.e. hey, check out this great new breakfast place), and there's a huge swathe of people that might not have the time or inclination to become outright bloggers, but will Tweet. They can report on planned events (say, a community meeting), something spontaneous like a fire or disturbance, or just offer reminders of things going on (i.e. someone Tweeting to say they're at the Revolving Museum for the Film Festival).
And on that note, time to set up my Twitter account, and then offer up a quick "Tweet" about a meeting tonight at UML.