Yesterday, I took the day off from Twitter. I’ve been using it fairly solidly since the early days, and wanted to get a feel for what I was counting on Twitter to do for me. The results were interesting:
- I count on Twitter for group answers. A LOT. For instance, I needed to know who from the social media scene was in Detroit. I ended up using LinkedIn, but I know that means I missed a bunch of folks.
- I count on Twitter as a way to express quick, random thoughts, or to mention references to cultural items to which I know people will respond. (For instance, I like tweeting parts of song lyrics, because it’s fun when people pick the song up as a reply).
- I use Twitter to promote other people. While I was dark, I got no less than 14 requests to promote fundraising causes, and 12 general promotion requests.
- I use Twitter to promote myself, my blog, things I’m doing.
A day without Twitter didn’t give me more time to write. It gave me fewer distractions, but I don’t sit around and LABOR on Twitter when I write something. Often times, I can just jot something from my mobile in between meetings, or I pop the window open, reply to a few folks, and then go back to my work. Meaning, I don’t find Twitter to be a time suck to me.
I’m wondering if I should try my “a day without” on other services, like email, or my BlackBerry.
Have you tried things like this? What would you lose if you didn’t have Twitter?
‘Going without’ for a day is a nice way to see how a tool helps or how it does not help. Twitter certainly has some important uses in a general social network, particularly by keeping in touch with a wide group of people.
Many networks are made up of weak ties to a large group of people. Twitter helps maintain these weak ties, keeping the network functional. LinkedIn serves a similar function. Research has shown that the ability to activate weak ties when needed is a critical aspect of a working social network. It is also where many innovative ideas come from.
So, Twitter may have its uses. I’m just not sure I see where it would fall inside an organization. It seems like much more a personal network enhancer.