by Paul Drzaic
President, Society for Information Display
Well, let me cut to the chase. If you are inclined, you can now follow me on Twitter. I am located at twitter.com/theSIDPrez. Those of you who know what this means can skip the next couple of paragraphs, but please come back toward the middle after I provide a short introduction to those who don't know what the fuss is about.
So what is Twitter? The tag line at Twitter.com is What are you doing? The service makes it easy to blast a quick note on "what I'm doing" to the Internet for anyone to see. There is a 140-character limit, and this limitation forces notes to be short and focused on a single topic. A twitter note is called a tweet or perhaps more formally a micro-blog post.
The basic structure of Twitter is to sign up followers, as well as pick up people you are following. Followers automatically get to see your tweets; you automatically get sent the posts of the people you are following. You can send and receive links to web pages and pictures, and you can tweet from your computer or from a smart phone. That is pretty much it for the basics.
So why bother? For me, it's not going to be what am I doing? You are not going to be hearing about what I had for breakfast or that I am waiting in line at some restaurant. Rather, I will be sending out tweets more in line with what I have noticed or sometimes what am I thinking, organized around some topic in electronic displays. I do have a habit of spending some time each day searching out interesting tidbits on displays on the web; for me, Twitter provides a means for me to share the news that I find interesting. I may also slip in some SID-related news from time to time.
So what have I tweeted in the last several weeks? Posts include some notes from a recent trip to Korea, some good economic news from Corning, a new entry in the electronic-paper space, an immersive touch-display demonstration, noting a few things that caught my eye at the SID show, mention of an article I wrote for the journal Nature Photonics, and a debate on the size of the screen on the Enterprise bridge in the new Star Trek movie.
My current following list include tech blogs, SID members, friends, and assorted display enthusiasts tweeting about digital signage, electronic paper, and OLEDs. During the time leading up to the SID show, I followed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which provided real-time updates on the swine-flu situation. Having the latest news regarding the H1N1 influenza was extremely helpful in SID's decision to proceed with our meeting, and to communicate authoritative information to our members. For real-time information, Twitter can be very useful.
So, what am I thinking? If you sign up and have interests similar to mine, you will probably find the tweets interesting and perhaps entertaining. If your interests are different, then you can promptly unfollow me, and that's OK too. In any case, you might consider sending out a few tweets of your own and see who might be listening. •