October 13, 2008

Twitter starts to make sense

Follow-up to Thoughts from Open Lab, part 1 – or, why I don't get Twitter from Steve's blog

After persevering with Twitter for a while now it is starting to make sense to me. The first piece of the puzzle came from a comment from mike bradshaw – “Jaiku is for conversations, and Twitter is for broadcast”. I had been puzzled by how conversations happened on Twitter and this made me stop thinking about it, because they don’t! (Aside: if anybody can throw me a Jaiku invite, I’d like to try that out too!)

Of course, you can have conversations on Twitter, but they aren’t easy to follow unless you follow everyone involved – conversations don’t exist as entities in the twitter-stream.

The second piece of the puzzle came from a blog post about Enterprise Twitter by Jay Cross on the Internet Time Blog. The interesting concept here (to me at least) is this one:

Twitter operates in real time. It’s like a stream going by. It’s only a distraction if you’re watching it. It’s not something you go back to. It’s now or never. Unlike blog posts that will live online forever, Twitter is written in disappearing ink.

This is where I connected Twitter with the “Big Now” idea in my original post

After getting the Twitter concept straight in my head, putting Twitterific on my iPhone so I had constant access to the twitter-stream is the thing that finally made it work for me. If you are only exposed to twitter when you are sat in front of a computer, the “now or never” nature of it makes it less useful. Being able to check Twitter at will makes a big difference to how you relate to it.

I’m still not sure I’m much of a “Big Now” person, but maybe I’m less of a “Small Now” person than I thought, or maybe my “Now” is growing:-)


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