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« Off to Nairobi | Main | Analogy and technology acceptance »

Improving the quality of Tweets

Blogorrhea noun. An unusually high volume output of articles on a blog.

So Ole joins a monastery where he is required to take a vow of silence. Each year monks are allowed to speak only two words.

At the end of Ole's first year, Abbot Lars asks him for his two words. "Bad food," says Ole.

At the end of his second year, Ole replies "Hard bed" when the Abbot Lars asks.

At the end of the third year Ole's two words are "I quit."

"I am hardly surprised," remarks the Abbot Lars, "all you've done since you've been here is complain, complain, complain.

Ba dump.

Here's my proposal - there should be a five "tweet per 24 hours" limit to any one Twitter account. Period. No exceptions.

My guess is that the quality of tweets would rise fantastically. Right now for many twitterers, blogorrhea has a companion condition - Twitterrhea. Really does any really read 10-20 things that are THAT worth sharing? Have thoughts others would REALLY find valuable?

Wouldn't all of us be more discriminating if there were a limit?

For most people I talk to (and for myself), the big information issue is not a lack but a glut that makes it difficult to discriminate the useful and provacative from the mediocre and useless. Twitter is not helping with this in the least. There is too much "I read it and now I will pass it on and get a Twitter point" mentality.

Not that long ago, print journal editors provided a valuable service - they, fairly or unfairly, helped distribute only the "best" ideas in the profession. Yes, I am sure they practiced with a bias and that some really good stuff got lost in the process, but I didn't have to spend half my evenings scanning posts, articles and applications to determine if they had value to me. The editor did that for me pretty accurately.

What would happen if every tweet cost a quarter; every blog post cost five dollars; every e-mail a dime to the writer. Wouldn't we all be a bit more discriminating in what we sent?

I would be. You may well have been spared reading this post...

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Reader Comments (10)

Are you saying that you don't need to know that I had pancakes at IHop for breakfast? :)

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim McGuire

I have to disagree with you on this one, Doug. I am an unapologetic heavy Tweeter. As a teacher educator, I do a great deal of professional reading and "keeping my finger on the pulse of Education" reading, but I certainly do not have time to read everything. I recognize the fact that most K-12 educators have different reading priorities than I do and am glad that Twitter allows me to expand my knowledge through their postings about their reading. I relish their Tweets about what is important to them, what tools they recommend, and actions affecting their daily practices. It makes a big difference in the way that I teach future media specialists about school libraries and their technologies. In return, I pass along things that I believe they should know about. While I do try to use hash tags to divide out my posts, some things I pass along to everyone because I feel a particular news tidbit could be significant to their school library practice or their growth as informed educators. Not to be a SA, all I can say is, if heavy Tweeters offend you, skip their posts.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Starkey

As a newbie into the world of tweets (and more web tools), I do agree with the idea of quality over quantity, though I do like pancakes. =) BUT, those with "Twitterrhea" (hee hee), will just get a second (third, fourth...) account. Like the idea, keep it up!

October 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Web Wanderer

Hi Jim,

You're just making me jealous that Mankato doesn't yet have an IHOP (a long time favorite mine!)


Hi Carolyn,

I appreciate your POV and I am sure it is shared by many - in fact I am surprised I did not get more heat about this.

Perhaps it is because I have followed, then dropped, many seemingly less than discriminating tweeters that I feel this way. As an "expert," I feel that it's not my job to locate, but to evaluate things I find to disseminate. This seems a more valuable service than simply being a conduit.

Keep doing what you do - I am sure you have plenty of followers who appreciate your work.

All the best,


October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Well, Doug, I too am surprised that you didn't get more heat for this posting--censorship in any form is distasteful and objectionable. As for the content value of Twitter postings, I believe that this educated people can evaluate their own readings--significant items just need to be pointed out. Since we all have different objectives to satisfy with our readings, there should be a wide variety of content suggestions available. Shall we agree to disagree on this issue? Enjoy Nairobi--sounds llke an interesting trip.

October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Starkey

Hi Carolyn.

I guess I would only ask you consider the difference between censorship and selection. Any of us who tweet or blog or pass along information become, in my thinking, an editor. All editors must select what they publish – this is why we buy what books and magazines we do and it is the real service they perform. Availability is not the problem anymore – it’s finding the most valuable information available.

I appreciate your comment and a response is always welcome,


October 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

If you are advocating for shifting debate and conversation back to blog comments I am with you on this. I think in that respect we have all suffered from shifting the conversation to 140 characters in many ways. Not least of which, that character restriction increases the chance greatly that your statements may be taken out of context. But, as is Twitter is not just a place for posting things to share but a place to have near real-time conversations with other Twitter users. In that regard, your proposal is a proposal to end dialogue. Unless we can realistically bring the conversation back to a slower medium I can't view this request as anything but regressive.

October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Anderson

Hi Carl,

Great comment as always. Twitter is a good conversation tool during conference presentations too.


October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Thanks, Doug.

I have added a great new word to my vocabulary that neatly describes an affliction affecting some of the people I follow on Twitter. I still follow them because, in amongst the trivia, they have some worthwhile contributions.

Methinks some people tweet too much.

Regards, Geniaus

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeniaus

HI Geniaus,

My problem is I don't want to wade through the trivia! Spoiled by others doing my editing for me!

Thanks for the comment,


October 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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