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Mind

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

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitDecember 28, 2008 12:37 AM
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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.

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