On the Blogging and Cultural Virtues of Twitter

twitterimageEar­li­er in the month, we made the leap into the world of Twit­ter, prompt­ed part­ly by Makeuseof.com, which men­tioned our site in a Twit­ter-relat­ed arti­cle. (Thanks Mark for that.)

When we first cre­at­ed our Twit­ter feed, my hopes weren’t espe­cial­ly high. And while I’m still not com­plete­ly sold on the per­son­al uses of Twit­ter, I’m def­i­nite­ly lik­ing the way that it works for a blog­ger. For starters, Twit­ter has giv­en us insight into who actu­al­ly reads Open Cul­ture. Since we start­ed things in Octo­ber 2006, I haven’t known much about who vis­its the site. I’ve been fly­ing in the dark, to be hon­est. But now Twit­ter gives us a snap­shot of our reg­u­lar read­ers. Because you can see who sub­scribes to your Twit­ter feed (some­thing that does­n’t hap­pen with RSS feeds), you can get a feel for read­ers’ geo­graph­i­cal loca­tion, their gen­er­al age range, and most impor­tant­ly their pro­fes­sion­al and per­son­al inter­ests — all of which helps us tai­lor the blog’s con­tent a bit bet­ter.  

Still more perks come from our sub­scribers. Twit­ter gives you the abil­i­ty to see who your “fol­low­ers” also fol­low. And that inevitably means that your sub­scribers, shar­ing sim­i­lar tastes, will turn you on to new and dif­fer­ent sources of information/inspiration. Essen­tial­ly, your sub­scribers help you devel­op intel­lec­tu­al affin­i­ty groups that pro­vide good grist for the mill. In addi­tion, our read­ers also do their own microblog­ging on Twit­ter, and, here again, their short, pithy 140 word “posts” have sur­faced inter­est­ing con­tent that we bring back to you … with prop­er attri­bu­tion, of course.

Based on our brief time with Twit­ter, we’ve put togeth­er an ini­tial list of cul­tur­al­ly-redeem­ing Twit­ter feeds. Have a look, and feel free to let us know if we’re miss­ing some good ones. Of course, this list will grow over time.

Last­ly, if you’re not on Twit­ter, it’s time to get on and see if it works for you. Join here. And if you want to sub­scribe to our feed, click here and then click “Fol­low.”

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.