On Twitter

I created the @vambenepe Twitter account a while ago to reserve the username. Yesterday I posted three tweets, so I guess I am now “on Twitter”, in case anybody cares. We’ll see where this goes. @jamesurquhart gave me a kind (but intimidating) welcome and @Beaker hasn’t called me a “jackass” yet, so things are looking good. BTW, is it just me or has Cisco assembled a top-notch good cop / bad cop team? I hope I manage my blog-to-twitter expansion as well as they did.

The Cloud stuff is where the fun is, but if this Twitter thing is going to be of any use for real work I need to find who to follow in the IT management, application management and systems modeling areas. Any suggestion beyond @cote, @MouthOfOpenNMS, @dmcclure, @puppetmasterd and @theitskeptic (I feel like I am just Twitterifying my blogroll)?

And even then, finding people to follow seems to be the easy part. It took me about 20 minutes last night to realize that I am not going to read all the tweets (and I currently only follow 18 people). Worst case I’ll just track the direct mentions of my handle and some occasional hastags during interesting announcements. And scan the rest once a week. I assume that’s what the Twitter natives like @cote do as well (I seeded my list by picking names I recognized from his 1,130-long follow list). Advice?

The other issue is the 140 characters limit of course, but this should be easier to get used to. In the Apple/Palm tweet last night (about how this might show us what enforcement options standard bodies have) I wanted to invoke Stalin’s dismissive “The Pope! How many divisions has he got?” quote by replacing the pope with the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). But no room left unless I sacrificed the image of a working group chair breaking the knee cap of an offending implementer (which, as an ex-WG chair myself, I see some upside to).

Is it bad form to post multi-part tweets? How about, say, 50 parts? I need a protocol to guarantee delivery and order on top of the Twitter API. Maybe REST-* can help me… ;-)

I also wanted to ping Andy Updegrove with the hope that he’d comment on the USB-IF letter (he has looked at the iPhone before, but not this specific issue) for an authoritative opinion. But he doesn’t seem to be on Twitter. The nerve!

And then there is the “follower” thing, which I guess I am now supposed to start obsessing about (folks, if I don’t have a hundred followers by week end the kitten gets it).

In the real world, there are a few people who return my emails and occasionally agree to have lunch with me, but that’s a far cry from calling them “followers”. Even my wife would spit her coffee if I referred to her as my “follower”. But on Twitter, I just posted three tweets yesterday and I already feel like a religious guru with my 24 “followers”.

Jokes aside (on the cult-leader overtones of the word “follower”), the fact that these people are identified is a nice improvement over blog subscribers (who, to me, are just an occasional number within the user-agent field in my Apache httpd logs), at least until they comment/email. Nice to “see” you.

One more step in the slippery slope towards total egomania. Blog > Twitter > Live webcam of the inside of my stomach.

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