Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Twitter: colossal waste of time or *most* colossal waste of time?

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitDecember 28, 2008 12:37 AM
Twitter Logo


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

So I’m checking my Twitter updates, and someone (coostreehouse) says that she found me using TwitterGrader, which gives everyone on Twitter a ranking. OK, what the heck, I check my TwitterGrade. Holy frak! I rank 199 out of 774,000 Twitterers.

I can’t help but think that’s bad. Like, maybe I need to do better things with my time.

But then I think that I do keep up with my friends that way, and pimp the blog that way, and read about people I like that way. And it’s not like it eats up more than 15 minutes a day. OK, maybe 30. Still, no biggie.

Then I check who follows me. Holy frak again! Brea Grant! Like, the chick from "Heroes" Brea Grant! Cool. I knew about most of the others: skeptics, scifi people, astronomy nerds like me. Wil.

Then I think, "Say, how many followers do I have right now?"

Answer: 2974! Holy frak cubed, that means I’m close to having 3000! Who will be my trimillennial follower? I’m not sure I know how to find out who that person will be/is. And if you are that special person, what do you win? Why, nothing! You lose! Good day sir!

Oops. Sorry. Willy Wonka moment there. But seriously, that’s pretty incredible. What I’d love to see is a demographic breakdown of followers: geographic location, gender, race (yes, the term is ill-defined, but still has useful properties for demographics), interests. Who out there will write that app? Or does it already exist?

When Twitter came out, I thought it was pretty useless. I changed my mind when, just a few days after I first signed up in April 2007, a gunman at Johnson Space Center held people hostage and I live-tweeted it; I got several emails from people in the aerospace biz thanking me because they couldn’t get updates at work through the web. Then I tweeted a Shuttle launch, and again got lots of support. Now I see its ability to reach people simply and easily (as well as tell them what I had for dinner, hooray for teh webz!) and I like it.

So join me! All you have to lose is colossal amounts of time.

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In