twhirl – initial thoughts

So far so good. It is one less browser window to have to keep open, and the alerts do not appear to be annoying. When I’m busy working I don’t notice them come in, especially if I have sound muted.

twhirl adds a number of useful things to the basic Twitter tool set, including a URL shortening tool, automatic querying of Twitter and a search engine. It does seem to slow the machine a little when I have a lot going on, which may be the fault of Air rather than twhirl. I really need two computers – a work machine and a communications console. Anyone tried using twhirl on an Asus?

Last night I got to watch a whisky tasting happening live on Twitter. I’ve got a bit of stick on Facebook for doing this, mainly because I didn’t actually have any of the whiskies being tasted, but for those who did it appears to have been a very successful event. People were logging in from all over the world giving their opinions.

When you have a live event like that you do need to up the frequency of your interrogations. I was getting new tweets every 4 minutes or so, and I’d get them in batches of 6 or 7 at a time. twhirl allows you to configure how often you query, which is useful.

On the other hand, I think it would have been better using the live-blogging technology I used for the Hugos. You couldn’t easily see the whole event yourself. With a search you can actually see a lot of it (see here), but that relies on people tagging posts correctly and not everyone did. (Also a few Americans consistently mis-spelled “whisky” which didn’t help.) In addition the live-blogging system doesn’t require any messing with querying – new posts appear automatically.

But there you go, Twitter is the technology tool du jour, and all the cool kids are using it. As with other software tools, functionality takes second place to popularity. If Twitter gets you the audience then Twitter is the tool to use. And you can use it more easily on mobile devices.

Update: More info on the whisky tasting here.

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5 Responses to twhirl – initial thoughts

  1. Jean says:

    Also a few Americans consistently mis-spelled “whisky” which didn’t help

    If this refers to their habit of referring to the stuff as ‘whiskey’, regardless of where it comes from, Elizabeth Bear assures me that, in US English, this is correct. A pity, since it deprives the language of a subtle distinction, not to mention confusing those of us who speak other kinds of English, but there you go…

  2. Cheryl says:

    It may be correct for them, but if the Twitter event was dependent on their using the spelling “whisky” then it didn’t work.

    I could, of course, complain about cultural appropriation. I think the Scots have a right to spell the name of their drink however they want. But Bear’s had quite enough trouble on that front recently.

  3. ebear says:

    If it’s any consolation, I agree that whiskey and whisky are two different things.

    But my copyeditors and Mr. Webster get crabby about it.

  4. Cheryl says:

    That Mr. Webster, eh? He’s got a lot to answer for.

  5. Twilight2000 says:

    Guilty – but not on purpose – I just didn’t realize the spelling was different due to type of “whisky” :>. (heck, until you pointed it out, I didn’t even realize I *was* spelling it differently)

    And I did miss a lot of the other folks – I’m still not sure how I should have set up my search – I would have preferred the liveblogging you used as well :>.

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