Monday, December 21, 2009

Misadventures in Twitter

I signed up for Twitter at the same time as a few of my friends, but six months later, few of them are tweeting regularly - indeed, some of them haven't done anything on Twitter since that first week of use. After lamenting at @jmeehan5's lack of tweeting, he scoffed at what a pointless waste of time Twitter was - my response was an unsure "I've found uses for it", but I didn't have any examples to hand.

I've been on twitter since March, and according to my profile page, I've posted 201 tweets, follow 50 users, and have 43 followers (I gave up on pruning the spammers over a month ago). As is typical of this misanthropic blogger, I've engaged little with other Twitterers - only partly because I'm not entirely au fait with the lingo and etiquette, yet I've found uses for Twitter that no other web service (that I'm aware of ) can match:

Manual Videogame Matchmaking
Since getting a decent broadband connection I've been enjoying online gaming on my Xbox 360, and when my friends aren't in the mood for a game, it's rarely difficult to get a game going with randomers since most developers appreciate how difficult it is for gamers to make acquaintances. Since Halo 3:ODST's multiplayer mode didn't come with a matchmaking system, I used twitter to find some playmates:

I got about six replies, and after suffering through ten minutes of a game with a piss-poor connection, I threw in the towel. Chalk it up as a failure, but ten minutes of gameplay with a shoddy connection was better than what I'd have got without Twitter, and once the number of people around me with Twitter / Xboxes increases, so will my chances of finding a suitable match. [Sure, I could have gone to a gaming forum, but that'd require registration and hassle!]

Tapping into your social brain
I didn't do so well with maths in school, and even though I can manage numbers in my head fine, I'm functionally retarded when it comes to theorems and formulas and whatnot. So last week, when I needed a smart person to help with a matter at work, I asked Twitter, knowing that my intelligent friends would be able to steer me right.

The problem arose from a missing invoice - €827.50 was paid for X amount of goods @ €6.50, and Y amount at €4.50, how could I figure it out how much of X and Y were needed?

I got 5 responses - 1 from a non-follower who was interested in the hashtag. Each reply told me that my equation made no sense, and didn't help my problem all that much, but it gave me hope for any future legitimate mathematical quandaries I may find myself in (perhaps once I bone up on my maths language).

Reading the [potential] customer's mind
After bemoaning how Floola turned 14.3GB of my iPod's HDD space from 'Music' to 'Other' on Twitter one evening, I got a response from CopyTrans, shilling their alternative software:

Useful? Potentially - I didn't bother to click the link they sent, but being able to see what internet users are saying about yours and your competitor's products online is a boon for any business.

Appreciating those stalwart bloggers
Okay, indulge me on this one - after noticing an additional flurry of hits on my blog from strange places, I saw that it was because @NiallOK took a shine to my post about Matthew McConaughey's campaign to lean against every woman in Hollywood and shared it on Twitter:

I got quite a kick out of seeing this, which was amplified by seeing the people who were kind enough to propagate it. As a blogger, this kind of genuine reaction to a blog entry shows me that shorter blog entries that can be appreciated by more people with less investment will get shared, but five-thousand-word, self-indulgent, esoteric rants about how stupid the word 'sweater' is just turn people off coming back... But where's the fun in that?

Tomorrow, as an early Christmas present to my regular readers, I'll post part one of my 4,000 word treatise on the absurdity of manners! [I kid!]

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