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Twitter for Operations Research

There are tons of “Web 2.0” (or 2.1, or whatever) applications out there that I don’t really understand how to use.  I know I have 154 connections on LinkedIn, but I don’t know why.  I have received a flurry of Plaxo requests, but I can’t tell if that is more or less useful than LinkedIn.  I’ve played with wikis and with wikipedia (before deciding I didn’t want to spend my life arguing with non-OR people about the operations research page).  And, of course, I have a blog, and use lots of software to bring together various RSS feeds.  But,except for the last, I am not sure if what I do is useful, or if it is just messing about to no purpose.

One system that intrigues me is Twitter.  Every few months I tell myself that I should use Twitter more, and add a bunch of tweets for a day or so before lapsing back.  Unlike the blog, I never found a voice for Twitter.  I’m trying again, this time putting my tweets in a sidebar on the main page of this blog (the sidebar is getting far too messy but maybe one more thing can fit in!).  But why?  About the most I can say is that this might give some people an idea of what a university professor does and perhaps give an outlet for quicker thoughts about the OR world than the blog does.  I see people like Wil Wheaton and Steve Baker and I see them using Twitter in interesting ways.   Could I find a similar path?

Anyone else want to point the way on how Twitter can improve the world of operations research?

{ 11 } Comments

  1. D. Eppstein | March 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I could imagine using it at a conference to give brief reports on the talks I’m seeing or the agenda items at a conference business meeting. For everyday use, though, I don’t really see the point.

  2. Larry (IEOR Tools) | March 9, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I second Eppstein’s idea. The next time you are at a conference or a talk use Twitter and see how that goes. I know I can’t make every conference and it would be good to know how things are going around the world.

  3. DanF | March 9, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I know I also use twitter just as a way of finding new things to read. Someone that I follow on twitter might mention “Hey I read a cool article on constraint programming in python at ….” that kind of little note wouldn’t really merit a blog post, but the tweet makes a great pointer.

    Tweeting a conference is pretty cool, but I only found it useful, again, when it pointed to more “full featured” content outside the conference.

  4. nanotürkiye | March 11, 2009 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    I think you should not use Twitter only for “What you are doing?” That’s the reason your Twitter experience was not so good.

    You should ask questions, share ideas, interesting links about OR or anything else you read on web.

    You should definitely use Twitter in conferences.

    And also you should fill your biography and blog website part in Twitter. That way you look more professional. Also that way people who are interested in OR, will find you easier using tools like http://www.tweepsearch.com

    Actually I tried to find some people on Twitter who are talking about OR and IE, but I could not. Mostly people talk about search engine optimization and nothing about OR. I think this number should grow 🙂

  5. Jim Orlin | March 11, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Twitter is a wonderful tool for solving our problems, if our problems are a result of us not sending out enough mass communications during the day.

    Anyone who is tempted to use twitter should just write electronic notes to him or herself. At the end of the day (or after enough tweets), the person could post the notes that are still relevant.

  6. Peanar | March 25, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Some more reasons to use twitter:
    It’s a good way to get messages out quickly. It’s good to get some feedback. You can also learn about the latest advancements in technology. You may create a snowball effect. It shows your human side.

  7. Matthew Saltzman | April 22, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I can’t resist pointing out this [nytimes.com] relevant link–Maureen Dowd’s interview with the founders.

  8. MJ | April 22, 2009 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    There are so many websites that already utilize what twitter does. It has been around for a while now…it’s not so intriguing in my opinion. I’m looking for new thoughts and ideas for social networking.

  9. Mr. Nashville | April 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Linked in is good for networking. Twitter is good for the fad fill—and it can help certain business connect with their clients, provided the company actually provides helpful information and not just ads.

    All in all, they are just a few of the thousands of web developers hoping to cash in on the social network craze by creating some variation on Myspace.

  10. Dave Saunders | April 24, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I think Twitter is best thought of as a giant cocktail mixer. You can hide behind the punch bowl or yell about your stuff like a giant billboard.

    Somewhere in between is ideal…

    Engage others. Find and chat with other people in your field. Share what’s up. Share what’s coming.

    Most of all, enjoy yourself.

  11. mark verbiest | April 25, 2009 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    I don’t think twitter is for everyone. If you can’t find a use for it then maybe you just don’t need it.

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