[nSLUG] [OT?] Re: Twitter account

Mike Spencer mspencer at tallships.ca
Tue Jul 16 17:13:11 ADT 2013

First off:  I have no objection to the creation of an NSLUG Twitter
account.  Or an IRC channel, FarceBork account, Yahoo group or
whatever.  Personally, I'm unlikely to use any of those [1].  But, as
Ben observes,

ben> I'll stress again: this is outreach. Each of those hash-tags
ben> above (#linux, #Halifax, etc.) will ensure those tweets get seen
ben> by people who search for them, and each time some other twitter
ben> account is mentioned (@mosaicfs, @dalfcs) the messages reach not
ben> only the owners of those accounts, but also people following
ben> them.

The mechanisms of hashtags and  "following" support broader and
faster ramification and arborization than mailing lists.  All to the
good for outreach!

Donald T. wrote:

dt> I fail to see how 140 char can hold anything other than a "hey
dt> check this out" followed by a short URL.
dt> Yes, I just don't get it.  I'm getting my meals by the plate, and
dt> the twitter users are acting as if the meals are served by salt
dt> shaker.

Yes.  Stichomythia is a powerful literary and theatrical technique but
falls short of optimum for real conversations. But substantive
conversations aren't everything; it does, in the on-line context,
serve the outreach goal Ben mentioned.  Getting even more OT here, it
helps to keep the channel open.  If you've ever watched your Granny
and her friends prepare a church supper or a crew of guys assembling
something big and dirty, you may have noticed that they natter.  The
grannies may natter about relatives or babies and the guys may exchange
an unbroken stream of cheerfully scatological insults.  What this does
is keep the comm channel open, keeps all participants aware that the
others are there and where they are. So when Granny remarks, "Here's that
big sharp carving knife" or Joe says, "Belay that cable before it
kills Harry", everybody is on line, aware of each other and it all

The time scale may be different -- days to hours vs. millifortnights
to seconds -- but I can see that Twitter can keep you up to date on
the grapevine in an era when the disappearance of F2F at the general
store, local gas station or cafe has chopped the grapevine at the

I'm on another mailing list that has had a couple of near-death
experiences and is presently bordering on moribund despite an episodic
history of active, sometime penetrating exchanges. If some of my
friends there were posting frequent one-liners to Twitter, perhaps I
wouldn't wonder, "Is Arthur still around?  Does Sally want to hear
what I'm thinking just now?" and hesitate to post to the list.

OTOH, a well-functioning venue can evaporate if another medium co-opts
enough of the participants for whatever reason.  No one has suggested
that Twitter should replace the NSLUG list but there's a knee-jerk
fear that it might do so for some unanticipated "whatever reason".

I'm satisfied with the apparent consensus that it won't.

- Mike

[1] Never say "never".

Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^

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