Zen and the art of Twitter

A few weeks ago I posted 9 Joomla people that I like to follow on twitter - today Im going to post a slightly different list. Most freelancers and web workers, actually anyone who uses the internet, knows how distracting the interwebs can be and that the last thing you need when you are trying to work and get things done, is even more distractions.

However, there are some cases that I think a distraction in the workflow can be quite helpful. I like to call these moments of distraction "unhinging moments". These moments basically help us to break out of a stuck place, take the doors off the boundaries or limitations we might be coming up against and give us a fresh perspective on a problem we might be trying to solve. The concept comes from Zen philosophy and its really about trying to create a shift in your perception in your approach to your work in the same way that a Zen Koan can create a shift in your perception of life, reality and the universe.

Twitter has some remarkably good tools or tweeters who can help to provide the shift for you. Its easy to see think that Twitter is all about the spammers, marketers and advertisers, and even if you have a relatively clean follow list its easy to get bogged down in conversation, argument and other types of unproductive distraction. At first glance it might be hard to see how Twitter can provide Zen moments but hopefully the list below will help persuade you that it is possible.

Its worth noting that creating the unhinged moment is not just about creating some random distraction, because as we know Twitter is excellent at creating random moments. What we are looking for is a brief distraction that shifts our focus without getting caught up in an entirely new conversation. The following twitterers have helped me in the past to have a brief pause or wake up at some crucial moment, where the distraction of the tweet was ultimately productive in my workflow.

Common Squirrel

Common SquirrelThis cute little creature is pretty active throughout the day and its tweets consist of sleep, stare, eat, sleep, jump, run, sleep ... Its the perfect one liner you need when you are trying to debug IE6. Actually the common squirrel just jumped while I wrote that.

Big Ben

Big Ben TwitterBig Ben helps me to realise how much time Im spending on a project and really helps me to snap out of it and leave my desk for a while. Big Ben tweets every hour on the hour and if I havent left my desk in between two tweets from Big Ben then I know Im in trouble.

Feral Pigeon

Feral PigeonSeems like a common squirrel wannabe but probably worth the distraction.

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