A case for tweeting what we read, not what we think

A friend who works for Twitter asked me why I run a Twitter account that simply lists what articles I am reading on any given day.

Now I have considered it, it’s not unlike the ‘see what your friends have read” feature behind the News Corp paywall. But I just never feel comfortable sharing like that. But my @buckleupreads account is operated solely by me. In fact, this automatic feed of what has caught my eye is even more revealing than my neatly curated tweets of thoughts, links and photos that you’ll find on my main profile, @buckleup.

It’s a text version of what “The Narrative” camera seeks to do, following me everywhere on the internet, except that my @buckleupreads only records what really makes me pause.

What is worth sharing?

Twitter is a marvellous medium for sharing. The best, by far. But having an audience ready to listen has me forever contemplating, what is WORTH sharing?

My general rule has been to make every tweet educational or entertaining, preferably both.

But as my use of Twitter has developed, I have realised that’s all too restrictive. It may be a good place to start, but life has more variety, twitter needs more diversity and rules are meant to be broken. Even my own rules.

For example, I had left no room for opinion, the views that create or add to a debate, the banter that can lead to new ideas and a wider perspective.

And secondly, the sharing of links to articles – offered without any comment – is one of twitter’s greatest services and is a genuine timesaver. Simply type any topic and t.co into the Twitter search bar, and you will receive a stream of tweets pointing you to recent articles on the topic. If I spend even ten minutes walking or on public transport, I grab a few links, save them to reader (I mostly use Pocket) and then paste the text into a voice-to-text app so I can listen while still remain a visually engaged citizen of the universe.

Image

Based on this routine, I decided to make a twitter feed of those articles, mostly for my own record-keeping, but also for anyone interested in seeing – without any moderation, wit or judgment – an RSS of what I come across in a life in Sydney influenced by faith, family, design, technology, intolerable traffic and world class weather, coloured by a job tied to the media, social networks and emerging trends. A bit of unedited life-blogging.

Many news sites feature a ‘most read’ list, but unless I know and relate to those people it holds little value. I would love it if all my friends had a twitter feed like @buckleupreads, so I could easily follow a list of what they had been reading. It would be like my friends had curated Google News every day and shared it.

The biggest downside of this idea is that some articles I choose to read are a total waste of time. Some articles promote me to act, others to laugh, many to say “meh”.  Only those that make the Buckle-cut will get mentioned on @buckleup. Think of that account as the premium experience. And there isn’t even a paywall.

Yet.

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