I’ve been following an interesting debate about the benefits of Twitter versus RSS readers like Google Reader. The debate started with a question posed by Robert Scoble on friendfeed and spilled over into several blogs; siliconANGLE, louisgray.com, Scobleizer and Newsome.Org.
I love reading stuff like this because you can see the passion that everyone has for their little corner of the technology world. It’s even more interesting when you consider that it’s a completely personal choice. Boxers or briefs, who gives a crap as long as you’re comfortable.
Twitter is a fantastic tool and I use it as much as possible. I’ve connected with several people via Twitter that I would have never met otherwise. These people have provided me great insight into a great many subjects and I look forward to reading what they have to say each and every day. Unfortunately, Twitter only gives you 140 characters to get your point across and you can’t preview links referenced in various Tweets. In addition, not everyone that has something worth saying uses Twitter. I also struggle to keep up with the 90 or so individuals that I follow on Twitter. I can’t imagine trying to keep up with over 10,000.
Google Reader is also a great tool. I subscribe to several technology blogs that provide me with information on things that interest me; tablet PCs, Windows 7, Apple computers, smartphones, photography, pharmacy, drug information, pharmacy technology, informatics, etc. There are things that I get from Google Reader that I simply don’t get from Twitter, and that’s ok. I have more than 140 characters worth of information in Google Reader and can preview the entire article using a Firefox plug-in called Better GReader. In addition Google Reader gives me what I believe are several great options for managing the information I’ve chosen to read. Twitter may offer this as well with favorites and lists, but I haven’t figured out how to best use these functions.
However, the biggest reason for my use of both Twitter and Google Reader is my hospitals policy on the use of cell phones and social media. Twitter is strictly taboo and blocked at my hospital and cell phones are not permitted while working. Google Reader isn’t blocked, yet, so I make use of it. Twitter is something I check while taking a break, eating lunch or walking from one meeting to another. Bottom line, you use the tools that are available to you when they’re available. Is Twitter better than Google Reader? Who cares, it’s a personal preference.