Archive for June, 2007

Why I’m no longer Twittering

Posted in ALA, Technology and software on June 30th, 2007

These comments apply only to my own situation. For you, Twitter may be wonderful.

Some of you have already figured out that I’m sort of an introvert, with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances but not too many that I strive to keep up with on a minute-by-minute (or week-by-week) basis. That I enjoy getting together with people at ALA (and occasionally other conferences) but don’t go to great pains to make that happen–and am perfectly comfortable dining by myself.

I’m clearly not the world’s greatest social-network participant, by personality or preference. I probably still have an Orkut account and haven’t been back in more than a year. I probably have a Second Life avatar and have no idea what my name or password are. I dropped out of Ning (Library 2.0 and library bloggers) because it just didn’t work for me–I wasn’t able or willing to spend the time there, and its slowness and confused interface didn’t help a lot.

Or at least I think I dropped out of Ning. I haven’t been back to check; for all I know, I may still have a page there. More about that in a bit.

Twitter? In general, I can’t imagine why anyone would care what I’m doing at any given time. But…well, the use of Twitter to get together during a conference seemed at least plausible. And, breaking with my long tradition of traveling entirely without technology, I’d picked up a cheap text-oriented cell phone (with what may be the world’s smallest QWERTY keyboard) on a Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go basis, with a $10/1,000 text message package…if only so I could contact people I was talking to about future contract or job possibilities. So I thought I’d sign up for Twitter just to see if it would be helpful during ALA. And, after using it (Web-based) a few days prior, cut back “friends” (I’m getting to hate that overused word for people I’ve never met and never really talked to, but who feel some vague connection) to those who I thought would be at ALA.

I didn’t keep the phone on all the time–I just can’t deal with that level of connectedness–but I made a point of checking it at least every hour or two, and did send out Twitters when I was going to be in one place for a while.

My conclusion? For me, for this equipment and service plan, for this type of conference, it’s a flat-out failure. Here’s why:

  • One or two of the dozen “friends” was, shall we say, Twitter-happy, with what seemed like an endless flood of little messages. I’m seeing that elsewhere; in one case, where a liblogger is having twitters posted as blog posts, I’m about ready to unsubscribe.
  • I don’t know whether it’s Twitter, Virgin Mobile, or the way I was using it, but I got messages in big clumps, sometimes a day or more after they’d been sent. For a while, it appeared that I wouldn’t get any messages until I sent one; I’m still not sure what was actually happening. In any case, this made the tool useless as a “gathering” system: Knowing where someone was yesterday is not real helpful.
  • Maybe it’s different at a small or very specialized conference, but there just weren’t any instances in which my “friends” and I had any reason to meet up that Twitter helped with. A lot of that may be because I don’t have that circle of people I want to get together with as often as possible.

The cell phone itself proved useful primarily because of my little 36-hour travel problem (which, after reading Michael Golrick’s ordeal, I realize was only a little problem): It was nice to be able to keep my wife informed without coping with a cell phone, and I even called the airline once or twice to help things along. Naturally, the phone started losing charge halfway through the adventure…

So I came back and immediately set my Twitter account to “web only.” Recharged the phone. Didn’t use it on Thursday. Canceled our Cingular account (which we’d already planned to do). When my wife wanted minimal instructions on the Kyocera/Virgin Mobile phone (we now have two sick cats instead of one, and we’re still not sure what’s going on with the younger one), as soon as I turned it on I started getting a flood of Twitter messages…even though I’d cleared it after resetting the account. I think all the messages were from late Tuesday and the first half of Wednesday; I’m not sure, since I was just deleting them. (For some reason, the phone’s “erase all messages” feature doesn’t actually do anything. I think they’re taking lessons from the social software people.)

Again: for you it may be brilliant. For me it’s the wrong medium, either on the web or on the go–and the last thing I want is various hunks of text that aren’t even real messages from real people!

So here’s the coda, at least for now: I logged on to Twitter, said I wanted to erase my account, went through the “Are you sure?” step, clicked on the appropriate button…

and was taken back to my home page.

Did the process again. Signed out. Was able to sign back in and there’s the same#*!@% home page again.

Sent a help message, basically saying “Is there any way to actually leave Twitter?” We’ll see what response I get.

And this morning, checking email, there’s another new “friend” on Twitter–friending an account that should not even be there.

This seems to be typical of (some) social software applications, and certainly helps them claim very large usage numbers. It’s the Hotel California syndrome–you can check out any time you like, but you can never really leave. I think it stinks; I’m tempted to sue a five-letter word beginning with “f” and ending with “d,” but I won’t for the moment.

If you’re a Twitterer who doesn’t read this blog and you’ve “friended” or “followed” me–well, here’s why you’re not getting any reciprocity. I’m not really there and don’t intend to return. Don’t be insulted. (In any case, why on earth would you be friending me on Twitter if you don’t read my blog?)

If you’re one who does want to follow me both places, I won’t be there; I will be here. (Assuming sick cats, job issues, etc. don’t completely take over my life, which isn’t an entirely safe assumption.)

This post probably makes me sound antisocial. Sorry about that. Fact is, we each have different levels of tolerance for interruption and need for connectedness. I find email, blogs, face-to-face conversations and (for now) Meebo rooms to be connecting at my level. I found Twitter to be enormously distracting and not at all useful, for me, in these circumstances.

A milestone minipost

Posted in Writing and blogging on June 29th, 2007

It’s an odd milestone, particularly given the circumstances–a reader informing me that I’m writing (at C&I) about matters that are unworthy of my time–but this blog just got its 2,000th comment (excluding spam, to be sure). And I’ll just leave it at that.

Cites & Insights 7:8 available

Posted in Cites & Insights on June 28th, 2007

Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large v.7, issue 8 (July 2007) is now available for downloading.

The 26-page issue (PDF as usual, but essays other than My Back Pages are available in HTML form) includes:

  • Perspective: Pew Do You Trust? – “Pew Internet & American Life owes me an apology.”
  • ©1: Term and Extent – PermaCopyright and other extremes, including my Modest Proposal for permanent copyright for truly original works
  • Making it Work – Commentary on personal balance and library service balance.
  • Interesting & Peculiar Products – Six products (and product groups) and another six Editors’ Choices/Best Buy roundups.
  • Library Access to Scholarship – more of the “opposition literature” and notes about money.
  • My Back Pages – seven snarky little mini-essays, exclusive to whole-issue readers.

Two quick notes: This was all written before ALA Annual (but with some touchup work and copyfitting done this week)–and there’s nary a word about my own future plans.

First post-ALA post (or “Why C&I 7.8 will be delayed slightly”)

Posted in ALA, Travel on June 27th, 2007

I discussed the lead essay in the forthcoming July 2007 Cites & Insights with some of you during ALA, noting that the issue was basically written, just needed a little more trimming and editing, and would probably come out the day after I got back from DC–which, presumably, would be today.

I still hope to publish the issue the day after I get back from DC. But that turns out to be tomorrow. After decades of luck in avoiding snowin during Midwinter, my luck ran out (at least a little bit) with a different sort of weather problem. To wit, I got to San Jose International Airport today at about 1 p.m. PDT–roughly 33.5 hours after leaving the Grand Hyatt in Washington to catch a shuttle to Dulles. I expected to get home around 3 p.m. Tuesday; instead, I got home around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

I’m sure some of you have experienced worse–heck, you may even be experiencing worse as I write this. My brief chronology:

  • 6:20 a.m. Tuesday 6/26: Shuttle to Dulles, reaching airport at around 7 a.m.
  • 9:30 a.m.: American flight to DFW takes off a few minutes early, gets in right on time (11:35 a.m.)
  • 12:25 p.m.: I’m at the gate where the American 12:55 p.m. flight to San Jose is supposed to be loading–but it’s now scheduled for departure at something like 1:45 p.m.
  • 2 p.m.: The plane (100% full) pulls back from the gate and gets in line for takeoff.
  • 3 p.m.: Given rain, progress has been slow, but this flight is now the first in line for westbound takeoff. And westbound takeoffs are shut down. We pull onto a midfield taxiway.
  • 6 p.m.: We return to the gate; after four hours of running the plane generators, there’s not enough fuel.
  • Everybody on the plane is told to go back out to the ticket counters to rebook. After various attempts at standby or rebooking, I run out of options…along with several hundred others. (The only San Jose flight later than 11:20 a.m. to go out at all is the 3:15 p.m. flight–which departs at around 9:45 p.m., and probably incurred a penalty for violating San Jose’s noise curfew.)
  • Even in the first class/Gold/Platinum frequent flyer line–or maybe particularly there–it’s VERY slow going to try to get Wednesday standby or new confirmed seats (everybody’s told that everything’s sold out until Thursday or maybe Friday; this turns out to be either false or intermittently true), and I finally wind up with a baroque confirmed booking (flying to Orange County and from there to San Jose, leaving midafternoon when storms are likely to be troublesome and not getting in until 7:30 p.m.) and a standby boarding pass for the first SJC flight out (7:55 a.m.)
  • At this point, getting a hotel room makes very little sense: Everything near the airport is sold out, and the only deals I can find are $200 to $250 plus a $20-$25 30-minute shuttle ride each way. Since it’s now 1 a.m. and I’d obviously need to be back at the airport by 6:30 or so to be there for possible 7:55 a.m. takeoff, that figures to be $300 for about 3 hours of sleep and a shower. Not worth it. So, along with a few hundred others, I head back through security (before it shuts down at 1:30-2 a.m.) to sleep inside the airport (there’s really no place to even sit outside the security area, at least in the American complex). I believe some 600 people couldn’t get standby passes before the ticketing shut down at 1 a.m., and were stuck either going to a hotel or making the best of the outside facilities.
  • American did at least one thing right: They invested in a few hundred lightweight foldable cots, so people could do something better than lie on the floor–and they made several hundred blankets available. With such comfort, I probably got an easy 60-90 minutes of something resembling sleep.
  • Based on weather forecasts, we were hearing the worst–it might be even worse today and continuing until Sunday. I figured that if the 3:25 flight didn’t get out, I’d give up at that point, get a hotel room, and try for Thursday…
  • Fortunately, American’s standby-rollover algorithms are pretty clean (placement is almost entirely based on when your original flight was scheduled to take off). I wind up #15 on standby for the 7:55 a.m. flight–and get real hopeful when they’ve gotten to #11 and I see that 12-14 all have the same last name. Turns out there’s exactly one seat left–but the parents of the teen in the family decide to send him ahead.
  • Next flight 10 a.m. This time, I’m #8. Then #9. Then, glory be, #4. The flight’s delayed (but mostly preboarding, then a little because of catering), but I get on, the weather seems to be holding at overcast–and at 11:15 (I think) we pull back. As promised, once we’re past the Sangre de Cristo mountains, it’s a pretty smooth ride (and the $5 turkey/shaved parmesan/turkey ham/lettuce wrap isn’t half bad, actually).

So there it is: My 24 hours (almost precisely) at DFW. Right now, I’m running nearly on empty, with no real deep sleep for a day and a half. This could clearly have been a lot worse. OK, so they didn’t feed us (except first class) or give us free drinks during the four hours, but the lights and air conditioning were on, the johns were functioning, and it was clearly a legitimate weather problem, not an airline issue. (They did provide water or orange juice after a couple of hours.) Four hours isn’t seven; some people spent two days getting through DFW, not just one.

Odd. My wife suggested that maybe I was getting too old for the outbound flights–American Eagle to LAX midafternoon on Thursday, June 22, followed by the red-eye from LAX to Dulles, But even in coach, I did get 2-3 hours reasonably decent sleep on that flight–and Grand Hyatt gave me my room at 6:15 when I got to the hotel, so I could crash for a few more hours. This was my first experience “sleeping” in an airport; I hope it will be my last. Maybe I am getting too old for that sort of nonsense. Maybe not.

So, maybe I’ll have C&I ready tomorrow. Maybe Friday. Maybe not. I think it’s a good issue, with a section on copyright, a Library Access to Scholarship piece, another chunk of Making it Work, a couple of other features–and a lead essay that I’ve already mentioned to a few people. Soon.

I may post later about why Twitter-during-conference really didn’t work for me, for ALA. I might post about other things…

Meanwhile, a little thought experiment (“picture in your mind’s eye”) that may say something about the underwhelming success of a revolutionary mode of transport.

Picture in your mind’s eye half a dozen really cool people. Let’s say Halle Berry, Will Smith, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Bruce Willis–I don’t know. Choose your own.

Line them up. What a spectacle of coolness!

Now put them all on Segways and get them moving.

What do you have? Dorks on Parade.

At least most of the security guards at the DC Convention Center didn’t have the “I love this Segway because it means I don’t use up any of those doughnut calories” look I’ve seen in some other cases of “official Segway” use–but still…

And that’s it for a highly unofficial and inconsequential ALA post that at least says why I’m a little slow with some other things. If the above is a little less coherent than usual, you can guess why.

Job possibilities and ALA non-schedule

Posted in Passé on June 18th, 2007

I was going to post a tentative ALA Annual Conference schedule–but I don’t think so. A lot of that schedule is likely to be fluid, especially if there are other people who would like to talk to me about future possibilities.

If there are such people (and you’re one of them or in contact with one of them), then please get in touch–gmail, waltcrawford–by Thursday morning, preferably by Wednesday afternoon, to set up a meeting. Or, I suppose, sign up for Twitter and “follow waltcrawford1″–but I don’t know whether that will help.

There are more programs than usual that I might attend. Exhibit time is always sort of an unknown. Meanwhile, here’s a non-schedule: When I get there, when I leave, and when I know I won’t be available:

  • Arriving Friday morning (Dulles at 5:20 a.m.)
  • Friday: Not available 4:45 p.m.-7 p.m.
  • Saturday: Lots of possibilities, but no absolutely blocked spots except that I do have plans 6 p.m. and beyond.
  • Sunday: Not available 1:15-3:15 p.m. (LITA Top Tech Trends ex-“spotter” cameo) and will certainly be at the OCLC Bloggers Salon a substantial portion of 5:45-8 p.m.
  • Monday: Not available 2:45-5:45 p.m.
  • Leaving early Tuesday morning (at Dulles by 7:30 a.m.)

I have 10 or 15 optional events within those unblocked areas, but they’re just that: Optional. If it’s important enough, I could miss them. The most open times in general are late morning through early afternoon Friday and any time Monday until 2:45 or so (or possibly Monday dinner).

Update Thursday: As you might guess, I’ll be pretty much off the air from now through next Tuesday–not posting, not responding to comments, not checking Bloglines, not visiting the LSW Meebo room. I will be Twittering, for what it’s worth (checking the new cell phone every hour or two, not leaving it on)…and we’ll see how that goes. See y’all next week, unless I run into you in DC.

Balanced Libraries: First milestone

Posted in C&I Books on June 17th, 2007

Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change

As of sometime this afternoon, Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change passed its first milestone.

It has now sold enough copies that I won’t call this self-publishing experiment a failure.

It has a long way to go to reach the second milestone, the one at which I’ll call the experiment an success–but I already figured to allow at least a year for that milestone.

We planned to celebrate with a bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc when (if) the book reached that first milestone. It’s too close to dinner now to chill a bottle of sparkling wine (great stuff, but it’s not Champagne because it isn’t made in the proper region of France–or in France at all, for that matter), and the food I have on weeknights doesn’t deserve high-end sparkling wine–so I’ll have that to look forward to post-ALA.

Speaking of milestones, one’s about to be reached on this here blog, and it’s one I’m fairly proud of in an indirect manner. I’ll let you know when it happens if it’s by Thursday a.m., or afterward if not.

Pointing with Pride

Posted in Cites & Insights on June 16th, 2007

Some time back, I realized that Cites & Insights lacked one element of writer’s satisfaction I used to get from its predecessor, one that I still get from my remaining column. It’s something you don’t get from blogging and do get–in spades–from traditional book publishing.

That is, the shock of seeing your words (possibly with editorial revisions) fresh, some weeks or months (or years) after you wrote them. Once in a while, it’s a pleasant shock: “That was really good!” (Once in a while it’s a less pleasant surprise, but let’s not go there.)

So I decided to read C&I–but not the current or recent issues. I started with the first 2004 issue in late 2005. Once Volume 5 was complete, I kept the print issues along with the bound volume I prepare at the end of the year instead of recycling them immediately, and have done the same since (I recycle each individual issue after I read it). I basically look to read about one issue a month, as though it was one of the many magazines I read (I put them in the backlog of magazines…)

This week I reached the Midwinter 2006 issue, Library 2.0 and “Library 2.0.” Sure, I’d glanced at the issue when preparing Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change to decide how much I should incorporate (answer: almost nothing, but I did pick up a few pages of the July 2006 followup, “Finding a Balance: Libraries and Librarians”). but I certainly didn’t read it start to finish. I remember being nervous when I published the special issue–the longest essay and longest issue in C&I’s history until a couple of weeks ago, and one I expected to be pretty controversial.

Yesterday I finished the issue. You know what? I’m proud of it. Very proud of it. Substitute a four-letter word starting with “D” for “Very,” and you’ll get how I really feel.

I was even looking at the essay and wondering whether it had legs enough to deserve republishing, along with the July 2006 followup but with no editorial changes at all, as a sort of memorial instabook in the easier-to-read trade-paperback format, probably for $20. (Terrible idea? Good idea? Yawn? Comments are open.)

Not that it hasn’t been pretty widely read. When the final reports for C&I at Boise State were run in late May 2007, they show that the PDF version of that issue was downloaded by 12,276 visitors–and the HTML version by another 14,097 visitors (who I hope didn’t print it out, as that’s far more wasteful than printing the PDF). The last time I ran full stats for the current C&I (at the end of May), they show another 1,469 PDF downloads and 619 HTML pageviews. That totals more than 28,000 readers (no doubt inflated)–and for all I know, the issue may be archived elsewhere as well. Actually, strike that: I know it’s archived at least one other place, in the OCLC Digital Archive (you can link there from Worldcat.org), and there may be others for all I know–the CC license explicitly permits them.

That’s about it: Just pointing with pride. The essay was a considerable effort. Looking back, it was worthwhile.

Technology Competencies and Training for Libraries: A mini-review

Posted in Books and publishing, Libraries, Writing and blogging on June 14th, 2007

Sarah Houghton-Jan wrote this (see post title), which is Library Technology Reports 43:2 (March/April 2007); ALA Publishing sent me a copy in the hopes that I’d “find an opportunity to review it for a relevant publication or…blog about it.”

This isn’t terribly timely (too much going on), and isn’t terribly deep–and, of course, I’m not in a library, so I’m not an expert reviewer in this case, but

It’s very good. I believe it would serve as a useful guide for establishing a set of desired or required technology competencies for library staff–and for the training required to enable the staff to meet those requirements.

Sarah Houghton-Jan writes as well as she speaks, which is a compliment, and writes in her own voice. That makes the material more interesting and accessible than if she used a purely formal tone, without distracting from the message.

I won’t go through the half-book (an issue of LTR has roughly the same content as a very short book) chapter by chapter; this isn’t a comprehensive review. It’s an easy read; she organizes the material into a dozen relatively brief chapters and keeps momentum going throughout. But it’s also something you’ll want to keep handy as you think about and carry out a competencies process–or, just maybe, decide your library doesn’t need one just yet (yes, Houghton-Jan discusses that possibility without dismissing it entirely).

Houghton-Jan does not set forth The Checklist; she clearly recognizes locality and the need for each library to draw up its own list. Similarly, she does not specify The Way for training; she offers a number of suggestions to consider. She’s done a fair amount of training, but doesn’t say that everybody should do it her way. There’s a refreshing lack of universalisms here; she’s setting forth principles and methods, not a canned recipe.

Well done, and I believe many libraries will find this useful.

Authority, Formality, Reality, Hypocrisy

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books, Cites & Insights on June 13th, 2007

I rarely do “link love” posts (which are on the decline anyway), and I’m trying to stick to my new rule of not basing comments on second-hand conference reporting, but…

This is just plain outrageous (specifically the second part–the first is more, well, silly).

Formal language does not grant authority. And it is certainly not the case that proper columns in print publications (in the library field or anywhere else) avoid informal language and personal observations. I’m sure there are publications with such rigid Editorial Standards that all columns are mangled into Proper Lifeless Neutral Prose, but I give up on such publications pretty quickly. Columns should function differently than formal articles, just as scholarly articles should function differently than other kinds of articles and reports even in the same journal.

Let’s go a little further. In the library field, it is my belief that degrees don’t confer authority, that the form of publication doesn’t confer meaningful authority, and that the concept of The Important People and the rest of us has long outworn its shelf life.

Michelle Boule (“Jane”) says useful and important things–some of which I disagree with (this is by no means a bad thing). She also posts casual blog entries that are part of real life. That’s exactly, precisely as it should be; it’s how her blog works and intelligent readers have (I believe) no difficulty distinguishing the off-the-cuff remarks from the serious arguments.

I believe in print publications and the role of refereed articles…as part, but not all, of an increasingly complex set of media and interactions. I also believe that blogs serve increasingly important roles in exposing and discussing real-world issues in librarianship (and other fields, of course).

Think of this as a temporary placeholder for an essay that needs to be written. When John Dupuis wrote his wonderful and thoughtful review* of Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change**, he noted that most of my source material was from blogs. Specifically:

Another really interesting thing about this book was how it advanced the form of scholarship. Here’s a self-published book with very serious intentions, not lightweight at all, which mostly referenced blogs in the bibliography. I find that really interesting. A book that’s about how librarians should engage the most important issues in their professional practice and it’s mostly propelled by bloggers and not by reams of articles in the official scholarly journals. By my quick count, 151/187, or about 80% of the items in the bibliography are blog posts. And he makes us sound pretty good too. And I’m not saying that because my blog appears three times in the bibliography. For the most past, Crawford showcases the best writing and the best thinking out there among the liblogs (except for Chapter 8, mentioned above, but even that showcases some real passion too); we are committed and engaged and thinking about the issues. If you are a liblogger and your colleagues are a bit skeptical about the the worth of what you are doing, show them this book. What we do, if we do it well, is worthy for our tenure files, for our professional CV’s. Our work on our blogs should be counted the same as any one else’s contributions in traditional media based on its intrinsic quality not its format or place of publication. Thanks to Crawford, we have an example of what we are capable of presented in a somewhat more traditional format and written by someone whose contributions to the field cannot be easily dismissed. We appreciate the support.

That was not accidental, and the shift in source material for Cites & Insights has not been (entirely) accidental. I need to write up what I’m thinking and doing in this regard, and that writeup belongs in the ejournal, I think. Soon. Real soon.

Meanwhile, I’m certainly not one of the Young Upstarts, but I’m with “Jane” 100% on this one…

* A review that could not, I believe, have appeared in most print journals, as it’s over 1,600 words long–and, to be sure, it wouldn’t have appeared for another 2-8 months if it did.

** I’m learning that self-publishing requires promotion whenever appropriate. But it’s also true that, if Balanced Libraries is a significant contribution to the literature–which I believe it is–that contribution rests on the work of scores of bloggers.

Twitter?

Posted in ALA, Technology and software on June 11th, 2007

Suppressing the “bah humbugs” for now…

Since I picked up a text-oriented cell phone in time for ALA (but it will mostly be off, and only people I’ve arranged to meet with will get the number), and

Since I said in COAP2 that “I think Twitter was made for conferences” even if you’re not the kind who would normally be twittering up a storm (see pages 4 & 5), well, then, to follow my own advice…

I have a Twitter account. waltcrawford: What did you expect? I have notifications set to web-only, but I’ll turn them back to phone notifications before I leave for ALA Annual. If you think you’ll want to know where I’m likely to be, or want to set up a meeting, maybe you want to follow me (I barely understand this stuff–heck, I got the reply and all that for phone verification, but the verification screen still shows up). I guess you’re supposed to invite me as a friend if you think I should be tracking your activities there–is that right?

And if you do want to meet (for job offers or whatever), let me know. I do plan to check the phone periodically, even if I’m still too “disconnected” by nature to leave it on all the time. And that teeny little QWERTY keyboard isn’t wonderful, but it works OK with one finger. (Too small for thumbing–I wasn’t about to pay for a Blackberry-equivalent.) Send me email–waltcrawford at gmail.com.

Actually, I think the fastest way to “follow” me involves “waltcrawford1″ as a user ID. Again, I’m not entirely sure…

Update: I believe that if you have a Twitter account, sending the message follow WALTCRAWFORD1 (case may or may not matter) will add you to my list. I will send at least one message in the next few days, if only to make sure that my phone really does send them properly.

Update 2, a day later: This is mysterious stuff, and I’m beginning to think that’s par for free web services. Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), I decided that I really should send one Twitter from my cell phone to make sure that the setup work had all gone properly–even though I had gotten a text reply (well, two of them) that suggested all was well.

Sent the message. Checked Twitter 5 minutes, then half an hour later. No message. Retried the setup confirmation again. Tried a message. No message… Did this a couple of times.

Finally clicked on the “Delete and start over” button. Entered my cell # in slightly different form–even though the responses had been, apparently, correct with the other form. (Prepended”+1″ this time; it’s just not clear whether U.S. users need that.) Texted the (new) authentication string again.

Two things happened differently: The reply from Twitter did not ask me for a nickname/username, and the (new) authentication string disappeared from the setup screen.

Well, that looks promising, sez I. So I text one more Twitter from the cell phone. Ten seconds later, there it is on my home page (and presumably on the pages of seven followers and that person who is apparently a Follower for every Twitter account).

Great! I’m set. Wasted a buck or so worth of messages, but that’s OK. (Actually, I went ahead and signed up for the $10/1000 message “per month” plan for ALA, and will drop back to the nickel-a-piece messaging in July. I can’t imagine getting and receiving anywhere close to 1,000 messages during the conference, but can conceivably imagine hitting 200+. Or 10, as the case may be.)

Here’s where it gets a little bizarre: A few minutes later, checked my archive–and there were all the other messages, including the repeated verification string. And a while later, the “friends” screen showed all those other messages as well.

Conclusions? None, really. My apologies to the seven people getting six or eight odd messages. For now, I’m “add”ing anyone who follows me–but I’ll turn off some of them (temporarily) before I switch from Web-only to Phone for notifications, based on whether I think it likely that they’ll be at ALA.

Enough blather about twitter.


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