Sea changes are often the products of tidal waves, but smaller currents are responsible for something we’re announcing today: iLounge’s brand new Twitter feed.
As you may already know, iLounge has only modestly participated in Twitter for the past couple of years, as our editors have had very polarized feelings about the value of the service for both us and our readers. We’ve maintained twitter.com/ilounger as a glorified RSS feed, and a couple of our editors have had their own separate unlinked Twitter accounts, but we’ve done very little to publicize them—we never even posted a news story to mention that they were around. Twitter fan and iLounge editor Jesse Hollington assembled this amazing guide to iPhone Twitter apps, and we’ve recognized several apps in our annual top 100 lists, but that’s been pretty much it on the Twitter front for us.
Why? Several of our editors, including me, have basically been steering clear of Twitter: say whatever you will about the value of the service as a concept—a mass instant messenger—but it quickly became a voyeur’s window into people’s bathroom habits, a playground for narcissists and self-promoters, and a place where spam—invitations to join “mafia families”—ran rampant. These problems persist today, a point that iLounge editor Bob Levens absolutely cannot get past, and frankly, the rest of us can’t blame him: Twitter is, like YouTube, filled with tremendous quantities of junk that virtually no one would actually care to see.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, and more importantly, focusing on all of Twitter’s junk is akin to turning on the television just so you can whine about the 200 channels you can’t stand. There is useful content to be found on Twitter, if you know how to sift through all the junk to find it, and this week, we decided that we wanted to add to its usefulness.
Thus, we’re in the soft launch stage of a new Twitter account, which can be found starting today at twitter.com/ilounge. Two or three of our editors will be adding individual contributions to our prior news feed, linked via a new List called @ilounge/editors. You’ll be able to find the raw stream of updates via Twitter, and the main page of iLounge.com will filter all of the important content from our List for your reading pleasure.
Note a few things about the way we’re doing this. First, we are not—repeat, not—going to turn the iLounge feed into the typical collection of useless, off-topic babbles. If you want to follow our editors’ personal accounts to see whatever they’re talking about, feel free—we welcome it—but the only stuff you’ll see on our main page is content related to our coverage of Apple products. Just as with iLounge itself, where we focus on delivering quality over quantity, we are going to take a completely different approach from the typical Twitter account: to us, this isn’t about racking up tweets or followers, but about providing a useful, high-quality service to readers who are interested in seeing it.
Second, our goal is to have this begin a discussion rather than become a one-way feed from us to you; to that end, we will reply to worthwhile tweets and questions when we can, and want to hear your questions when news breaks or topics interest you. Obviously, we won’t be able to reply to everything, but this won’t be like the silent RSS iLounger feed of the past.
Third and most importantly, we are treating this feed as a new way to bring information, particularly bite-sized editorial perspectives, directly to you. There are times—sometimes, many times a day—when we have brief thoughts to share on a topic that might otherwise require an hour or two to write up in a full article. Properly harnessed, Twitter can serve as an immediate conduit for such information, and we are going to do our best to make truly good use of the service for that purpose.
To sit back and see the feed work its magic, look to the left side of the main iLounge.com page starting in the next 24 hours. You can add the official iLounge Twitter account to see our main news feed, and if you want to get a more complete picture of what our editors are up to, now would be a good time to start following Jeremy Horwitz’s Twitter account and Jesse Hollington’s Twitter account. We’ll post a story and the iLounge feed directly on the site’s main page when everything’s running smoothly. Thanks in advance for following.