Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Can I quote you on that?

Since hearing Trevor Herrle-Braun speak at the Communitech Community Managers peer-to-peer group, I’ve been thinking a little about how I use Twitter for messaging.

Like many people, I exchange tweets with friends and colleagues, and occasionally with people whom I know only through Twitter. Being busy with other things tends to limit these interactions for me, though, which reduces my engagement compared with someone like Trevor.

I tweet about events that I attend, including regular events like uxWaterloo and DemoCampGuelph as well as one-off events like the talk by Google’s Alfred Spector last spring. (I also write at this blog about these things, as it turns out.)

One of the staples of my own tweets has been quotations that are, at least for me, inspiring or insightful. In large part that’s a result of my own reaction to seeing great quotes tweeted others. Jim Estill, whom I met while working at Primal Fusion, has been a steady source of such quotes and I’ve often re-tweeted his. John Maeda is another great source for me, with many of his best quotes being his own excellent aphorisms.

The last few weeks I’ve experimented with a higher volume of these quotes. Some of them get re-tweeted by others, so it feels like a worthwhile thing to do.

I discovered, though, that managing my collection of quotes in a text file was getting a little unwieldy. This past weekend I set up a prototype repository to manage the quotes more effectively. I had a few simple requirements. For example, I want to know which quotes I’ve tweeted and when I tweeted them. I also want my quote repository to automatically format my quotes for use with Twitter; I set it up to format my tweetable quotes using real opening and closing quotation marks (like “this” and not like 'this') and a tilde character (~) separating the quote from its author.

So far the prototype seems like a good tool and has met its modest goals. As I use it I’ll iterate on the design and implementation and make changes that reflect my usage patterns. Being a designer, that’s about what you’d expect me to do, right?

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