May 08, 2009

I, Twit(ter)

I have the attention span of… wait, hang on… uh… {spinning beachball pupils}… shiny thing shiny thing, start two emails, open three tabs… ah yes–the attention span of a sugar-smacked third grader. Therefore I’ve tried to keep Twitter at arm’s length, to say the least. I’ve felt like Old Man (Jon) Stewart shaking his fist at the technology, digging how McSweeny’s has characterized it:

Twitter seems to be, first and foremost, an online haven where teenagers making drugs can telegraph secret code words to arrange gang fights and orgies. It also functions as a vehicle for teasing peers until they commit suicide.

As my friend Hughes says, “It’s like reading someone’s life in fortune cookies–and about as nutritious*.”

Ah, but now, for whatever reason, I’ve taken the plunge and am on Twitter as jnack. It’s a little like a dog catching a car, though: now what does he do with it? People seem happy I’m there, but I’m not quite sure what they’re expecting.

I’m curious what you, as a reader of this blog, would like to see.

  • Should I create separate profiles in order to separate kid-related stuff from Adobe-related stuff? Or do you actually want to hear about our toddler celebrating bacon?
  • Should I post content on Twitter first (offering immediacy without context), then take the time to group things here as I always have? (I’ve structured this blog as one I’d want to read. I’d generally prefer to have fewer, better links than to have more random ones, and I’d prefer to have a sense of what to expect before clicking.)
  • Should I look into pulling my feed onto the blog as some sort of sidebar? (I have no idea what’s possible, just that it’s gotta be doable.)
  • Are there tools that you’d recommend to make Twitter more useful? So far Tweetie seems good, and I’m playing with Birdhouse and Twitterific on my iPhone.

I don’t just want to hear myself talk. It’ll be worth tweeting only if people are actually getting something useful out of the effort, so I welcome any thoughts or advice you’d like to share.



*What a perfect tweet, say I, having immediately become the pusher-man.

Posted by John Nack at 11:44 AM on May 08, 2009


  • Russell Dickerson — 11:59 AM on May 08, 2009

    I use Tweetdeck on the PC, I think there are a few like it for Mac too. That makes it easier sometimes than relying on twitter’s (often) slow site.
    The Twitters I follow tend to post snippets of interesting ideas, or links to other places, or even just an insight into how they work. Artists, authors and the like that maybe I can pick up information (and curiosities) from.
    Photoshop is actually a good conversation piece, there’s often someone that asks a question about some technique and gets instant feedback. Sometimes even (as an artist) discussions of how things look and feel, like art or film, can spark helpful and interesting ideas.

  • Mordy Golding — 12:25 PM on May 08, 2009

    Here are my suggestions:
    – Don’t try to duplicate content. Use to have each blog post automatically posted as a link to twitter. You don’t want twitter to replace your blog – you want it to enhance it.
    – use to “scour” the twitterverse for mentions of things like “photoshop”, which are emailed to you at specified intervals.

  • Matt Dial — 12:29 PM on May 08, 2009

    I’m following you now.. I think it’s appropriate to have a mix of personal and professional..
    I know I don’t tend to follow people that are just shilling for their job. I think of Twitter as quick quips with personal flavor.

  • Joseph L. Harris, Sr. — 1:01 PM on May 08, 2009

    1 – I try to balance personal and professional material. I don’t think it’s necessary to separate them entirely.
    2 – Go ahead and Tweet first. It’s about immediacy.
    3 – Yes, you can but a Twitter feed in your sidebar. I don’t think it’s complicated.
    4 – Tweetdeck on the desktop is great. That’s all I can recommend.

  • John Dowdell — 1:01 PM on May 08, 2009

    Hi John, glad to see it, I think you’ll have a good voice for it, although it does usually take some time to optimize to the medium.
    How to add recent tweets to a weblog sidebar?
    Separate accounts? I think people like to see the person behind the post — we don’t usually blog breakfast (bacon or not), but tweeting it seems less obtrusive.
    Content on blog or Twitter? Not sure. You find a lot of links that would work as tweets. But here they’re also often arranged topically. Sometimes I tweet a hot news item while thinking of a longer blogpost.
    Two annoyances: Twitter streams which say “I’ve made a blogpost!” and blogs which say “Here are my tweets from today!” Automated postings become a burden on readers. (A third annoyance: tweets which aren’t sensible on their own, and which require going somewhere else to understand.)
    (btw, don’t follow Oprah. ;-)

  • Jim Pogozelski — 1:03 PM on May 08, 2009

    I’d wait for you to consolidate our thoughts here before reading misc twitters (if I knew you personally it might be different).

  • Ken — 1:06 PM on May 08, 2009

    You have lost your CNN mind.
    Quit watching CNN and the twitter barking dogs.
    Ken in KY
    PS And don’t tell your children.

  • Seinberg — 1:16 PM on May 08, 2009

    I fully support you axing your Twitter account as soon as you re-realize what you knew before: it’s vapid, empty nonsense.
    Have a nice day :-)

  • Nat Brown — 1:20 PM on May 08, 2009

    I’m not sure I’d trust the advice of this guy but you might check out this link:

  • Rob — 1:40 PM on May 08, 2009

    Absolutely you should include the personal stuff; I saw your “bacon” tweet and was gratified you’re teaching your son to appreciate the finer things in life. Quoth the master:
    Homer: Are you saying you’re never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
    Lisa: No.
    Homer: Ham?
    Lisa: No.
    Homer: Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.

  • Anastasiy Safari — 1:45 PM on May 08, 2009

    Tell us all your secrets, John!
    Let it out! :)

  • Dane Boren — 1:45 PM on May 08, 2009

    I enjoy the format as is. I would love more “little known” and “little used but powerful” tips in photoshop that makes me want to option-tab over to PS to play with that new found knowledge.

  • Jamin — 2:30 PM on May 08, 2009

    Think of twitter as a massive conference coffee-room. Share cool stuff you find or know, ask questions about what you don’t, and SOMETIMES tell us a little about yourself.
    Check out for anything you want to know about twitter. If you want to keep topics seperate, you should look into using #hashtags (putting a # in front of a word).
    Tweetdeck is a one-stop application–it’s all you’ll really need. You group your friends however you want (I have a column for just family & friends, & another for designers). You can also have columns for following keywords (ex: “Church Design” will show you anything that gets tweeted about designing stuff for churches)

  • Daniele Di Stanio — 2:57 PM on May 08, 2009

    Hi, usefull, to me, has many meaning.. Resources are very good, but I do appreciate to “know” someone and the way he/she works. Small things, but in these days reading about so many people at Adobe, like John, Rachel, Stacy and Julieanne changed a bit the way I look at such a big company. Especially if you live in a foreign country (Italia).
    Other than this, the best approach is probably the one that satisfy you more, it just gets easier to be managed..
    I use tweetie both on Mac and iPhone, but I’ll try a little hack by Guy Kawasaki, he’s using NetNewsWire, link in his blog.
    Hi everyone!

  • Alan Valek — 3:14 PM on May 08, 2009

    Tweetie for the iPhone and desktop are the way to go, I guess Twitterific 2 is coming, but for now Tweetie is the hands down champ.

  • Andrew T Trembley — 3:19 PM on May 08, 2009

    Think of twitter as broadcast instant message for your phone. It’s great at conferences and events where you want to post something short and quick but don’t have the time or equipment to write a full blog post.
    Combine that with hashtags, and you’ve got an instant “back channel” without needing the event-provided chat infrastructure.

  • Carol — 4:44 PM on May 08, 2009

    Don’t do it!

  • Cannon Pearson — 4:46 PM on May 08, 2009

    There’s not enough bacon on the internet. I say all bacon, all the time.

  • Ian Hill — 3:04 AM on May 09, 2009

    Blogs are good for more refined articles, Twitter is good for thoughts on a whim, so just let it run it’s natural course.
    There’ll be snippets of ideas that don’t make for a blog post, but are still worth sharing.
    Tweet away :) Even if it’s about your toddler celebrating bacon.
    I’m sure there are lots of little gems of ideas that haven’t made it onto your blog that people would love to hear about.
    (I’m using Tweetie for both iPhone and Desktop)

  • Maciej — 5:09 AM on May 09, 2009

    … you can always telegraph secret code words to arrange a fight with quark…
    Anyways if I want see mr Nack I go here…
    If you think about what else is out there: facebook, twitter… bla, bla, bla… you’ll be stuck with keyboard forever and you’ll die like one of these teenagers whom forgot to eat for 2 weeks.
    Take your kid for a walk instead…:-)
    My real friends have my phone number…
    I’m also an sms hater and I am proud of it.

  • Steve Howard — 6:29 AM on May 09, 2009

    Follow some of your friends and colleagues. See what they post. See what you find useful and interesting. As you see what others post you’ll get a better feel for what YOU WANT to post.
    It should be a mixture of “John Nack at home” and “John Nack at work” for maximum interest, but exactly what and when and how you post is your decision.
    People will like it, or not. They will follow, or not. No hard feelings, It’s Twitter ;-)

  • Jack Tanksley — 7:08 AM on May 09, 2009

    I’m still not over the Major ManCandy thing, which was tweeted to me by RC.

  • Greg Barnett — 7:53 AM on May 09, 2009

    Oh John… You caved…. The social networking Luddites of the world (like me…) will welcome you back into the fold once you grow tired of the latest gotta do it fad… I have read endless postings on the pros and cons and just don’t see the point of one more distraction in the already overcrowded (your blog being an exception of course!) information space. And now I will surely suffer the wrath of the “twitterati…” for having blasphemed…

  • Tommi Luhtanen — 10:15 AM on May 09, 2009

    I believe the current phrase goes:
    “I blog, therefore I tweet.”
    Go, John, go!

  • Richard Earney — 1:31 AM on May 10, 2009

    Nice to see you there! It would be a good place for your quick links perhaps?

  • sidney davenport — 11:37 PM on May 11, 2009

    These (below) represent my views– and, oh definately–let’s have toddlers and bacon!
    Dane Boren — I enjoy the format as is. I would love more … tips in photoshop that makes me want to option-tab over to PS to play….
    Jamin — Think of twitter as a massive conference coffee-room. Share cool stuff you find or know … tell us a little about yourself.

  • Armando Alves — 5:15 PM on May 15, 2009

    Hi John. Welcome to Twitter. A great start would be sharing your regular link digest o Twitter, with a shot commentary, instead of posting it on the blog.
    Quality posts are hard to find, but when the link is almost self explanatory, a tweet will do.
    ReTweets are also heavily value if done with restraint, as it allows those who follow to find other interesting users. And maybe one day you’ll even RT @armandoalves

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