The Twitter Resistance

Mar 02 2011 Published by under [Et Al]

I really think the "The Twitter Resistance" would be an awesome band name, but alas, I have little musical talent. Nevertheless, I have been a die hard member of said resistance for some time. My spelling and grammar are bad enough already without having to fit a statement into one hundred and whatever characters. But, certain members of the blogosphere have been trying to nudge me into the Twitter forum. I mean, even PiT is on Twitter, no doubt debating the merits of different Doritto flavors.

But do the benefits of Twitter outweigh the drag of one more electronic distraction in my life? What say ye? Is there an actual benefit or just a lot of wasted cyber-time.

44 responses so far

  • CoR says:

    Twitter gives me many a'chortle. That said, I haven't been contributing too much lately!

  • Dr Becca says:

    One of us! One of us!

  • I agree with Dr Becca: come on PLS !!!

  • Zen Faulkes says:

    I just finished writing an article about Twitter for a society newsletter. Let's see, what did I say there? Ah, here it is...

    Despite my initial puzzlement, Twitter has become one of my most valuable online tools. Being on Twitter can be like walking around the hallways of a good scientific conference: you never know who you’ll meet and can’t believe you haven’t talked to before, it’s informal, it’s chatty with just a tinge of backroom gossip… and if you pay attention, you can learn a lot.

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    I stayed off twitter for a long long time. Now, I am addicted (and not in a bad way). I get all the latest science news that are not in the TOC's, links to interesting discussion/blogposts, and an outlet for all non-science interests. As a brand spanking new tt assist prof, I view it as another way to widen the network, and I get to rejoice/vent over the amazing happenings that come with growing a lab from scratch :).

    For the record, I am anti-facebook, and will staunchly remain this way for as long as I possibly can.

  • I only joined the twitterverse because they needed a cool kid. The Doritos they promised never arrived.

  • KBHC says:

    Increasingly, recommendations of people I trust on Twitter leads me to blog posts more than my RSS reader. I think Doctor Zen also makes a great point about how it feels like you're connected to a bunch of other cool scientists all the time. I love teh Twitter.

  • chall says:

    I think I would like twitter, although I can't access it during work hours so it seems a bit hard for me to get the happy of it. I mean, coming home in the evening reading twitter from the day? I don't think that's the "point" - it's more 'right now' or at least within a few hours....

    That said, I'm tempted at times to join in and get good suggestions on readings, probing for help/suggestions etc. Much more informal than blogs, right?

    I would probably benefit from learning to restrict myself to 140 characters too 😉

  • gerty-z says:

    YES! Do it!! Twitter is good for entertainment, but also can be a near-immediate source of info. Totally worth it. YAY PLS ON TWITTER!

  • proflikesubstance says:

    My concern is that I DON'T need another time sink in my life and if entertainment is the primary motivation, Imma gonna pass. If, OTOH, I can harness it for good, then I might be interested.

  • CoR says:

    I don't sink too much time in, actually -- it's kinda like chatting with office mates, but these office mates you like....

  • babakubwa says:

    Don't succumb PLS. These people are all high on 'Charlie Sheen'. No doubt people enjoy it and get something out of it, but from my perspective, Twitter fills no gaping hole and would ultimately be a time sink.

    Just had to provide at least one anti-twitter view....

  • proflikesubstance says:

    There is little doubt, that even via twitter, we could all get a contact high from Charlie Sheen.

  • Dr. O says:

    The nice thing about Twitter - it's perfect for a short break AND those of us with ADD. I log on, see what the Tweeps are saying, look at an article or two, then move on with my day. I've also found job postings on Twitter, used it to get papers my institution doesn't have access to, and asked quick questions about techniques/science/grants instead of wading through Google searches for the answer. Sometimes it even provides a better forum for conversing about blog posts.

    Plus - I updated the blogosphere on Monkey's birth via Twitter...the short character length was perfect for messages in between contractions. 🙂

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Twitter is over, man. Too many mainstreamers now and it's all corporate what with sponsored Tweets and all. The new thing is...well, you've probably never heard of it.

  • meh, I have a twitter account. I use sporadically so I often feel out of the loop. Plus DM been pissing me off with his anti-midwifery bullshit....

  • Dr. O says:

    @SM - DM did concede yesterday (by tweet) that improving the birth experience with certified nurse midwives in a hospital might be okay.

  • Bashir says:

    I am still not on Twitter and won't be anytime soon. I am allergic to internet wank, so avoiding twitter seems like a good idea. I'm sure there's decent stuff, but I'm skeptical about the signal to noise ratio.

    I would be tempted to partake if I manage to get to one of the big conferences this year. Conference tweets seem interesting.

  • I run Twitter alongside my email on my second monitor. I don't catch everything, but now and again, I catch a good tidbit of information. And it does so in a fashion that makes it easier than combing through endless news articles and/or blog entries. It should be noted however that it really depends on who/what you follow.

  • thehermitage says:

    Twitter can be very useful, the quality of shit you're subjected to depends on the quality of people you follow. I've certainly gotten a ton of links to studies and things that people don't necessarily blog about (at least not right away).

  • fcs says:

    +1, Bashir. Viva la resistance!

  • @Dr.O, hmm I'm SOOO Glad that DM conceded that point < note sarcasm. I don't want to hijack this comment thread so I"ll simply say that I"m working on a series of post, where we can have non-condescending discussion.

  • Kevin Z says:

    Clearly you aren't reading enough Deep Sea News. Craig laid
    it out for you already: What is Twitter and Why Scientists Need To
    Use It

  • Tom says:

    Twitter is not only great for networking and meeting new
    people with similar interests, it also is a great vehicle to induce
    innovation. Think about it, all day long you hang out with the same
    people, the same environment, and the same ideas. Twitter allows
    you to step outside that circle (or out of the box) and manufacture
    innovation. New people, new connections, new ideas. I like the
    Twitter Resistance, but I love the Twitter Revolution!

  • Chip says:

    I find Twitter useful in that I can associate with people
    who introduce me to information I have no other way to find. Much
    of science is often hidden so well that the well read but not
    degreed person cannot access the information he desires to learn. I
    had gotten the (probably incorrect) impression that Science wants
    nothing to do with people like me whose internal life depends on
    access to a wide variety of technical information. What I do with
    that information and whether I can be useful to the Science world
    remains to be seen. But not having access to that information would
    definitely handicap me in these goals. I have to thank you for
    giving it a try.

  • GMP says:

    Another member of the resistance here. Seems like a horrible time sink.
    It may also be that I am just too uncool and/or too old for it. I simply cannot bring myself to care.

  • I am giving Twitter a chance. Not sure I get it mind. Its like shouting across the dinner table - an introvert's nightmare. A lot of mundane banter, but a good way to pick up on interesting new links. Not really sure about Twitter yet!

  • Alyssa says:

    I'm still holding out too. Just no interest right now. Between checking my blogs, boards, and Facebook, I'm all internet-ed out!

  • It's illiterate gibberish marketing bullcrappe for politicians, celebrities, and other total fucken assholes. I'd rather driven a thousand nails through my dicke, pour a million gallons of gasoline on itte, and light the motherfucker on fire than waste my fucken time on dumshitte TEE! HEE! we are so fucken clever and funny STUPID TWITTER fuckwittitude.

  • Coturnix says:

    What Kevin says - that post on DSN has all the information and useful links. I would also add that you should, from the beginning, start organizing your Twitter Lists and Saved Searches. Carefully choose who to follow - look around good science tweeters.

    If you follow idiots, your Twitter experience will be idiotic. If you follow smart people, you will soon abandon your RSS feed reader as a hopelessly outdated means of getting relevant information.

    Also, remember that there is no need to follow people who follow you. Twitter is not Facebook - it is a chain: A follows B follows C, etc, each taking information out to a different set of audiences.

    Finally, once you follow a lot of people, you need a good filter, and there are some services like, and that can help you with that. I also love tweetymail as it allows me to use twitter via e-mail (useful when traveling).

  • And as far as, "twitter helps me stay abreast of SCIENZ", this is ridiculous. I stay abreast of science by being part of a community of scientists who share information with one another in a selected directed fashion, and by reading the tables of contents of a relatively small number of journals. This whole idea that we need MOAR INFORMATIONZ, and that in the onslaught of a massive flood of information floating around on the Internet we need SOCIAL TOOLZ to filter that information is a fucken joke. What we need is LESS INFORMATIONZ; the flood is just a distraction and a waste of time.

    Gibberish like twitter has *zero* effect on the conduct of actual meaningful science and the flow of information among actual scientists publishing their work in reputable journals.

  • CPP sez: being part of a community of scientists who share information

    Yah, you just described twitter.

  • Namnezia says:

    I find it almost completely useless other than to announce blog posts. Basically you miss most of what's going on unless you have it on all the time. Just a bunch of banter and inside jokes.

  • No. Twitter is a community of amateur science enthusiasts sharing information generated by real scientists.

  • drugmonkey says:

    And FWDAOTI, namnezia.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Why is that a "concession"? Like I said, Daniel Boone's very hatchet...

  • drugmonkey says:

    I am eagerly anticipating your "non-condescending" towards Obstetrics....

    (note sarcasm)

  • Cassie says:

    Make up your own mind, but don't listen to that asshole dick-swinging CPP. He's in quasi Charlie Sheen-land lately and it disgusts me to see the clique still sticking with him. It's embarrassing.

  • Isabel says:

    I'm coming to the realization that CPP is so upset because he feels threatened by Twitter. Only "real scientists" (in his mind this means rich PIs who can afford to travel several times a month) should get to share information in real time with broad networks of people. The rest of us need "less information" as far as he's concerned. We should stay away from the "flood" - it will just confuse us.

  • rich PIs who can afford to travel several times a month

    You think I pay for my own travel? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The people who invite me to come speak to them pay!

  • Isabel says:

    Gee, thanks for letting me know. All this time I thought PIs were forking over their own money for travel! Who knew? Yeah we all just don't understand like CPP here does how it all gets done!

    Idiot, I know you don't pay for your travel, unless it's coming out of a grant of course. But you *are* rich, unusually privileged, a multi-millionaire no doubt, and a big important PI who gets invited to talk in faraway places several times a month (which I find hard to believe btw).

    A rich, alcoholic PI who is obviously protective of his exclusive little world.

    Why don't you tell us again how we can all be enlightened liberals.

  • Z says:

    Some like it but I can't find the time. I also don't like jumpy things like Twitter and TV, and I hate chat rooms and chat boxes. Time to do these things would have to come straight out of journal reading time and so guess what I choose...

  • Zuska says:

    Well that's an interesting take on twitter, from a user's perspective, but it still doesn't make me want to be a twitt.

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