Hypertext on Twitter, sometimes

May 10, 2011

I've long struggled with deciding which posts from this site to link to from my Twitter account. In the beginning I linked to nothing, but gradually, as more and more of my friends seemed to be using Twitter instead of RSS (weirdos!), I started to tweet my non-linked-list articles. I got no complaints (and no one yelled at me for doing something I previously had derided quite a bit), and actually it turned out to have a benefit I hadn't previously thought of, namely instant feedback.

I don't offer comments on my site (for a number of reasons, all of which I've covered many times over), and so before Twitter the only way to give me any feedback was via email. Not only is feedback via Twitter less formal (in my eyes anyway), it's generally more convenient than email (for both parties), not to mention that tweets are much easier for me to respond to because I'm severely length-constrained and don't feel guilty for being as concise as possible, or for not exploring every caveat.

For the last few months I've tweeted some of the linked-list posts to which I felt I added value to the link. For example, a couple of weeks ago I tweeted a linked-list post titled "Where does good come from?," because I felt that the two paragraphs I added to the link were worth something.

As a general guideline going forward, I'm going to tweet linked-list stuff only when I accompany the link with 50+ words of commentary (and sometimes not even then). Accordingly, nearly all linked-list posts with sarcastic one-liners or otherwise relatively short quips never will make it to Twitter. Given that those sorts of posts occur frequently with respect to the longer-form stuff, I think (hope?) it strikes just the right balance between annoying and useful.

(And no, I'm not creating a separate Twitter account for just my site. Not yet anyway.)

You should follow me on Twitter here