How (really useful) discussions begin on Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I’ve written here and elsewhere about Twitter. You’ve heard about it of course, even if you don’t use it. Twitter’s the application that enables online messaging – 140 character delimited ‘micro-blogs’ or comments to and from people you ‘follow’ or who follow you. It’s changed the way online habitués communicate, taking many of us away from the blogpost as the chief method of open online discussion.

I’ve been torn mostly because of misplaced ‘guilt’ at neglecting the first-born – my ‘macro blogs’ here on Groundling and elsewhere.  Actually I’m convinced that you shouldn’t blog unless you have something worthwhile to say. In other words, less can be more, or quality beats quantity any day – and who needs more guilt anyway! But back to Twitter.

This morning I was discussing #theatre stuff with a Twitter contact in London. By the way the # or hashtag symbol is a way for users to ‘bookmark digitally’ or ‘tag’ subject-related posts on Twitter. We talked of this and that: his day, what’s been happening round the place while I’ve been sleeping and he’s been up and about, a coming global theatre event – when he happened to tweet about a new showing coming to London’s Royal Court – Caravan. I mentioned that right now the caravan is the preferred temporary accommodation for many of Victoria’s now homeless from the #bushfires last weekend. They want to live on their burned out properties and start again. He responded this way:

Image of Andrew Eglinton from Twitter
Image of Andrew Eglinton
LondonTheatre: I wonder if anyone’s working on a documentary (stage or film) of #bushfire ? about an hour ago

And this led to a quick back and forth on the stories that are emerging, television documentaries with survivors, verbatim theatre and dramatic writing. I was able to send him a link to an extraordinary piece in last week’s Australian newspaper about a couple who escaped the ‘flames of death’ -he in turn mentioned a piece he had written some time back about a woman escaping from a fire – and so it went.

It was a conversation that stirred the pot, and hardly a time waster – the other fist that’s usually shaken at Twitter.

Rather than its being a time waster however, I see the increasingly ubiquitous Twitter as a thought accelerator. It can lead to informative, reflective pieces either here in a blog post, or face to face in live discussion.

Dare I say it could also develop one’s productivity and creativity in unforseen ways.

PS Twickie (broken link) is a new bit of software that I used to grab @LondonTheatre ‘s or anyone else’s reply to my original tweet. It’s from the clever Chris Pirillo. You can get the code from Twickie for any reply to particular tweets that you post – and embed them in a blog for reference. Neat eh?

I’m @Dramagirl on Twitter by the way. Would love to meet you if we’re not already in the stream.






One response to “How (really useful) discussions begin on Twitter”

  1. Andrew Eglinton Avatar

    Thanks for chronicling this. I was really taken aback by the link to the jorunalist’s account of fleeing the bushfire. Did you see the Boston Globe’s Big Picture coverage of the fires?

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