Enthusiast: "Twitter can do it all. Links to scholarship, trends in the field--it's all there. You should try Twitter."
Me: "I'm on Twitter, and I follow a fair number of people. It has some useful resources."
Enthusiast: "You really should try Twitter. It's great for keeping up with scholarship."
Me, with a little more heat: "I'M ON TWITTER. It has some useful resources, but it doesn't have everything."
Enthusiast: "Twitter has everything. It's wonderful because people tweet great insights into literature. You really should try it."
Me, giving up: "Thank you for the tech tip on this marvelous resource. Gee, I had never heard of it before."
Enthusiast: "Twitter can do it all! You should try Twitter!"
I'll spare you the rest. Let's just say the communication loop is not reaching from my mouth to Enthusiast's ear. I've talked before about how annoying it is when people assume that because you have a nuanced view of what a particular technology can and can't do, you just don't get it, so let me stop there.
Here is what I've heard in these conversations and more formal settings. Twitter is the following:
- a great branding and self-promotion mechanism for scholars and grad students
- a means of keeping up with the scholarship so you don't have to read those pesky journal articles
- a source of great insights by great thinkers in the field before the insights are published
- a way to get the gist of various speeches and sessions at conferences
- a way to find links to resources that you'd otherwise never see.
Edited to add: in the comments, Dr. Koshary hilariously captured this "join my church" attitude:
"My Twitter is a mighty Twitter. Twitter is so great, you really should come to know Twitter. If loving Twitter is wrong, then I don't want to be right! Twitter can do anything, but Twitter lets us accidentally send sexually explicit messages meant for significant others to our parents because Twitter loves us enough to let us make our own mistakes."