Twitter Retry

Initial Dismissal

I tried to get into Twitter a few months ago but I really didn't see the point of the whole thing. However, its wild popularity and frequent mentions in every blog and podcast I follow have made me realize it's once again time to retry a technology or product I had written off early. I did the same thing with Google Reader, Google Documents, and Facebook. I'm now a big fan of the first two. Maybe I need to re-evaluate Facebook next.

The main problem I had with Twitter is that I thought of it in terms of more direct and intrusive methods of communication. I wouldn't want to get an email or a phone call from someone every time they thought about taking a dump or were wondering what was in their refrigerator. This was made worse because I put Twitter in my RSS reader. When I'd check my feeds I'd have 100 messages from people that I would usually just ignore. What's the point of that?

I'm now trying to think of Twitter as a general group chat. I'm using a client for it instead of the reader (currently TwitterFox). I then get updates as they happen (or within 5 minutes at least). I'm usually not bothering to catch up on anything that I missed unless it's a reply. It's a very lossy communication method. I'm free to ignore it for long periods of time if I feel like it. It's also filling the gaps in time after I've run out of subscribed content. We'll see how that works out.

SXSW and the Mob Mentality

Part of the reason for the re-evaluation has to do with the recent SXSW / Zuckerberg / Twitter incident. I wasn't there and there are conflicting accounts as to how big of a fiasco it was, but the interesting thing is how vocal the audience became. In the days before instant ubiquitous communication everyone would have sat quietly through the interview thinking like thoughts about the poorness of the interview. After the interview they'd then compare notes about the perceived suckitude, blog about it, and move on.

With Twitter, the audience was able to communicate with each other in a relatively clandestine fashion. I think this creates a feedback loop where everyone gets more and more pissed off. The perception of the poorness becomes enhanced and it's just a hop skip and a jump from tweeting your dissatisfaction to voicing it quasi-anonymously in the room. I'm not sure this is a good thing, but it's certainly interesting.

I say it may not be a good thing because I'm not a big fan of micro-ratings within a public forum. When presenters adjust their content on up to the minute feedback from the consumers I think there is a tendency to dumb things down and appeal to either the least common denominator or the most vocal group. I'm not sure this was the case at SXSW, but I'm not ruling it out.

To get back on track, I'm once again paying attention to my Twitter account, so feel free to find me and follow me if you're curious about my bowel movements, mental or otherwise.

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One Response to “Twitter Retry”

  1. Mark Says:

    Check out http://tweetspeak.com/ – it is weird and fun

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