Monday, March 19, 2007

The Power of Twitter Compels You

After a brief and fleeting spell of ambivalence, I was sucked straight into the depths of the Twitter vortex, the finger-snapping, trigger-happy, easy-to-use "mini-blogging" application that lets you send short messages to your group of "followers" via web, IM, or SMS. At its essence – I've spent some time thinking about this – I think that Twitter is yet another shortcut to meeting the compelling need for people to express themselves and partake in the ever quickening Internet conversation.

It's really simple and really easy too, which always helps and usually is at the heart of great and powerful tools and products. Sign up, add a friend or two, compel one or two people to "follow" your words of infinite wisdom (say whatever you want in answer to the question "What are you doing now?" just making sure it's under the 140 character limit) and you are on your way.

The more I play with Twitter, I think it's a keeper.

Another theory: Twitter may be a tool that particularly attracts those who already blog and are therefore already used to publishing online and interested in both attracting and audience and entering the Internet conversation. While I spend a lot of time looking at social networks such as MySpace, I never find a great and compelling reason to stick around. I particularly like MyBlogLog because it's a great networking tool for bloggers (and an experience that lives outside the site through the use of its great blog log widget), but it's simply not fun in the way that Twitter can be.

Other Twitter thoughts, culled over the weekend:

* Twitter has the potential to replace your RSS reader. It's fun to get Mashable and Wired and Techmeme updates via Twitter, and lots of people simply send links around, which becomes a hyperkinetic and viral method of information sharing.

* I'm apt to add twitter friends that I wouldn't add to my rss reader. Twitter's an outstanding way to get the shorthand thoughts and tid bits from blogging luminaries (or whomever, it's up to you!) that you don't have time to read on a regular basis. For example, I don't read Dave Winer's or Robert Scoble's respective blogs, but I've enjoyed following their Twitter conversations thus far.

* Twitter has fake profiles. These include Borat, Darth Vader, Bill Clinton, and fake Jason Calacanis and Nick Denton profiles. I take this is yet another sign that the Twitter aquiver with buzz. Take note that the John Edwards page is real!

* Lots of Twitter supporting sites/tools popping up. I'll just mention one here, because it deserves some attention. Twittervision is a mesmerizing Google Maps mashup that lets you watch Twitter messages emerge all across the globe in real time. If you like Digg Spy, you'll like Twittervision.

* Bold proclamations. Jason Calacanis declares that 90% of his blogging will now be delivered via Twitter. Personally, I love Twitter for its capacity for "casual" blogging, which gives you the ability to loosen up and say whatever you want without worrying overly much about spelling, grammar, or coherence. Blogging is a place to be a bit more structured and meaningful. Of course Twitter and blogs are merely platforms and the great thing is that everybody can help define them.

* Great quotes. I've seen some great quotes just over the last few days.

From Steve Rubel:
* JCal [Jason Calacanis] will become the first blogger to turn a full-time Twitterer
* Great businesses and greater ideas will begin as conversations on Twitter.

From Jason Calacanis:
* Who's building a twitter/google adsense widget? I need to monetize this medium before [Nick] Denton.
* Twitter is like cb radio without the static

* Are people talking about Twitter? That would be a 10-4, as this chart displaying the "twitterfication of the blogosphere" shows.


Anonymous said...

No disagreement there, although I've pared down my list of who I'm following to just real people and not feed aggregators (techmeme). It gets a bit overwhleming!

Staff said...

Yeah, I'm still playing with my list as well. The NYT river feed was just overwhelming, but it's nice getting the Wired feed and Mashable updates. Will be really fun and interesting to find the right mix.

Anonymous said...

Big ups for the Exorcist reference...

You're not saying Twits, er... Twitterers are *possessed* are you? ;-)

Staff said...

Thanks sprague.

I think twitterers are possessed in much the same way Chris Walken had a fever... and the only prescription was more cowbell.

Anonymous said...

Exactly the way I see it. Face book is for those that you know and normally interact with on a daily basis, but Twitter is used for the outside world.

Unknown said...

Twitter is pretty good! Biggest advantage is the ability to blog through sms when nothing else is available.

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Jason Roy said...

It will have your name all over it. Also, having a formal method for staking your claim in it is powerful energy! Whether you write it down, tell another person, or record it in some other way - documenting your choice is the second step. twitter acim