On the Fence About Twitter

    December 14, 2007

Maybe it’s all in the tone of voice. When I see the question "What are you doing?" my first impulse is to say, "Oh, I am sorry." It makes me question myself. "Why the hell are you doing that now?"

But I have another question that follows: "Am I allowed to tell people what I am doing now?"

See, I landed in Twitter Land by accident, as I explained in my first post on Twitter a while back. Someone asked for my Twitter handle, so I signed up.

I wasn’t sure what I would tell people about. It’s one thing to talk about things I am doing in public. So, I can talk about what kind of blog post I am preparing. I can discuss presenting at a conference. But when I am spending my day in internal IBM meetings or I am helping another company with their problems, what can I say about that? Too often, it’s nothing.

I found myself using Twitter to lament about how my computer was acting up. I mean, do people really want to hear about that? I mean, I’ve grown used to the idea that I need to be careful about how I blog. Often the inspiration for my blog comes from an interaction I had with someone the day before. So I jot down things people ask me so I remember to answer those questions on my blog. But I haven’t yet reconciled using Twitter to tell people about my professional life without revealing confidences.

I think it is the relentless question, "What are you doing?" It reminds me of the Yogi Berra story where someone asked him what time it was and he responded, "You mean now?" Whenever I think of that Twitter question, I wonder, "You mean now?" Gee, I can’t tell you exactly what I am doing now. Or, this is just so sickeningly boring that no one ever would want to know. Yeah, I am going to Twitter about filling out my expense reports or handling my e-mail.

Some people have told me to use it as a really short blog. If I have something very brief that I thought of that I could put it on Twitter. Maybe I am just too long-winded for that to work.

Regardless, a few folks are following me. I wonder if that’s worth it for them. I haven’t decided whether I am going to keep doing it, but maybe it’s the kind of thing you need to keep at for it to work. Sometimes, however, you need to know when something isn’t right for you. I guess I am still on the fence.