I have to admit, Twitter’s been one of my guilty pleasures. Every time I fire my client up, I ask myself why I’m doing it. But I do it all the same.
It’s not that lots of good information comes in that way. Still less that I get to read deathless prose. Let’s face it, there’s only so much eloquence you can cram into 140 characters.
Then I hit Jason Kottke’s blog post and I celebrated. He nailed it.
I work alone, mainly. Off to the side of the screen I keep the twitter stream flowing. I follow nearly 100 people (number keeps changing) but I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t read every word of every tweet. I don’t have the time. Nor the interest.
But it replaces the chatter, the water cooler conversations that would happen at the larger companies I’ve worked with and for. And when I come up for air, I join in the conversations, like I would at the water cooler.
For me, Twitter is digital background noise. It’s the “sounds” of civilization, both reminding me I’m part of a larger world and comforting me with the knowledge that I’m still surrounded by friends and colleagues, even if I can’t see them.
In some ways, it’s even better than the office cooler, because it’s quiet. It doesn’t actively distract me or interrupt my concentration. But it’s there when I need to take a quick break between coding jags.
Think of it as the one-man shop’s counterpart to the “real” office. It’s a pleasure. And I don’t feel guilty any more.