By now you have all heard of Twitter, the free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time. In a nutshell, you create an account where you can compose messages in 140 characters or less that you post to Twitter. Anyone who opts to follow you can read your messages. In addition, you can follow others who tweet about topic of interest to you.
I've only been on Twitter for a few months, but already I've observed a major shift in the subject matter of the tweets. Initially, I picked some big names in the Photoshop world to follow, and promptly found myself reading about what they were eating; who they were watching at the airport while waiting for a flight to some big conference; and that they were on their way to or from their daughter's soccer practice. Hmmm. I love the content of their Photoshop books, but this wasn't working for me.
Tweaking my Following list did the trick. After a few weeks, I had stopped following those talking about their personal lives, and picked up those who tweet about the software that I both use and teach. My personal opinion is that anyone in our industry is foolish not to be on Twitter. That's a pretty strong statement so here are a few reasons why:
You can follow and interact with the product managers and evangelists at Adobe. This kind of direct contact is unprecedented.
- RJ Jacquez (rjacquez) is an Adobe Evangelist for eLearning and Technical Communication. I've watched RJ address support questions via Twitter, and this week he solicited feedback on adding new programs to TCS3.
- John Nack (jnack) is the Principal Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop. In the past few weeks he has been asking for feedback on the addition (and removal) of Photoshop CS5 features.
- Rufus Deuchler (rufusd) is the Senior Worldwide Evangelist, Creative Solutions at Adobe Systems for Illustrator and InDesign. He talks about all sorts of goings-on at Adobe.
Still not convinced? You can follow your favorite Adobe trainers:
- Kevin Siegel (iconlogic) is on Twitter and regularly lets us know where he is going to be presenting, and announces upcoming classes like the one shown below.
- I'm on Twitter too (barbbinder), offering up tips and tricks, speaking engagements, upcoming classes and our free seminar series.
- David Mankin (oboerista) and Jennie Ruby (JennieRuby) are both on Twitter as well.
You can follow some of the big publishers and professional organizations:
- Peachpit Press (Peachpit) runs contests to give away free books (I won one).
- NAPP (napp_news) runs contests to give away free training DVDS. (I won one of those, too).
- InDesign Magazine (InDesignMag) lets their tweeps know when they are running subscription specials.
Yes, adding Twitter to your life can be a time-sucker, and I understand that. You have to impose time limits on how long you spend reading and following the posted links. But for me, the access to timely, accurate information is unprecedented, and I have no interest in returning to a Twitter-free world.