Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Some Twitter Thoughts

I’ve been on Twitter for two months now. (Two years as of this month - May 2012 - and a lot has changed. I now have my collection of Followers and Followings. They are organized into 'Lists'. I've had to block a few 'ratchet mouthed egotists and crude attention seekers - but that's off subject really.) First I installed a ‘Profile Widget’ (left) or a thread of selected Tweets streaming in a side panel on my blog. Then the installation of a  Tweetdeck (right), an Application that catches Tweets and organizes them for viewing on my desktop, was next.  Twitter lets me set up ‘lists’ of Tweeters so their Tweets (messages), describing daily - sometimes minute-by-minute - activities and thoughts, are sent to the Tweetdeck. The messages can be no more than 140 characters.  (click on image for larger view)

Most times Tweets are between Tweeters of like mind or related trades but can also be random - anything goes - but largely controlled by Tweeters. Tweeters selected for my ‘lists’ have something to do with the wine trade - critics, writers, winemakers, wine agents, marketers or advertisers. Currently I have four lists: Ontario based, a Cross Canada list, one for International and one for world renown wine critics/writers. This latter list is called ‘Wine-oohs‘ and is the one showing on my blog. At times Tweets can be off topic as personalities vie for attention or proclaim their frustrations/anxieties, phobias, bias, or intolerance. A Tweeter can be blocked if the Tweets become objectionable.

What I find astonishing is the difficulty to find Tweeters like myself, a wine Consumer (capital C) having no affiliation with the wine trade. Have I just not found Consumers among the thousands of Tweets I’ve viewed? After two months, I've found the Ontario wine trade group to be close knit, at least virtually. Sometimes occasionally 'closed knit‘ becoming defensive toward comments deemed as 'criticism' from those, referred to as outsiders, having a different view. As a Consumer my paranoia is that I’m in the outsider category.

Some Tweeter practices can be annoying: To circumvent the 140 character restriction thoughts can be strung over several Tweets. Although defeating the original purpose of brevity sometimes it’s needed to complete a thought. Some businesses automate commercials under the guise of Tweets - not good at any time. Similarly, I find ‘Tweesers’, Tweets requiring a subscription to a commercial site to complete the message, an abuse of Twitter - like offering you a treat then taking it away.

To stretch the 140 character limit links to other websites are often inserted. The New York Times, the Financial Times or Facebook, are common. Recent topics have been:

  • benefits of screw tops versus corks
  • changes in US cross state shipping legislation
  • Bordeaux tastings
  • Ontario liquor taxation
  • LCBO profiteering thru the HST
As Tweets are limited to 140 characters there’s not much room for innuendo - get it right the first time or you can easily offend. Twitter is one of the many Internet freebies where the Tweets, once sent, are in the Public Domain. Except for those that may have already been read Tweets can be deleted. But say it wrong and you may have several more Tweets to get your point clarified - or admit your impropriety and move on. In my earlier Tweets I was accused of ‘trying to start a fight’ when I thought I was contributing to a discussion. In the following weeks I learned the complainant had a self interest opposite to the one inferred in my Tweet… and I can‘t seem to be quiet when it comes to two subjects:
  • Blending of foreign wines and marketing them as Canadian
  • Wine agencies that push inflexible support for the ‘Monopoly’
Follow strictlytasting on TwitterOverall, Twitter is both informative and flexible. It's a 'living' thing and I'm still learning the art of discussion within 140 characters or less. Wish me luck and prudence.
Cheers, Ww

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