What is Twitter?
It’s a world-wide phenomenon that lets people post short messages of a maximum of 140 characters in response to a simple question – “what are you doing?”. Users can send these messages via IM, mobile phone, from the Twitter web site, or via a number of applications that feed and publish tweets.
How is Twitter being used?
- Staying in touch with family and friends. A hybrid between email, IM, and text. Provides a rich context for offline interaction and a sixth sense for what’s happening in peoples lives.
- Reporters use it to break news, to announce headlines that may be reported in more detail on the Internet, radio, TV and print.
- Bloggers and businesses use it to promote themselves and create a dialogue with their followers. See Barack Obama and author and tech guru Robert Scoble. Drives traffic to their sites.
Why does Twitter exist?
Reasons for Twitter’s popularity.
- Attention crash, brevity rules – people want the attention of others – the quicker the better
So having attention is very, very desirable, in some ways infinitely so, since the larger the audience, the better. And, yet, attention is also difficult to achieve owing to its intrinsic scarcity. That combination makes it the potential driving force of a very intense economy.
- Growth of mobile technologies requiring shorter messages – shorter but more often
- Rise in social networking – we filter what we want and don’t want
- Fascination with the trivial – Perez Hilton
- The speed of life is increasing exponentially with the growth in population. This includes the felt need to stay in touch.
- Stimulation addiction with a twist. Twittering is like the cocaine of blogging or e-mail but refined into crack.
Substance abuse is something visible. Psychological addictions are caused by wanting to hang onto or enhance positive feelings and stimuli, like winning in gambling, playing computer games or projecting whatever personality you like in chat rooms.
dezzychick – hopefully finding something to do tonight. (Good luck! Hopefully one of your friends will Twit “hopefully finding something to do tonight” and then the two of you can see each other Twits and put 1 and 1 together to realize that goodness, the two of you might be able to hang out!)
Twitter is a bad, bad thing — not just because of what it does, but because of what it says about all of us and our need to be connected. Twitter’s whole existence is based on the premise that we aren’t yet in touch with one another quite enough.
And that may be because critics haven’t immersed themselves in the technology:
So why has Twitter been so misunderstood? Because it’s experiential. Scrolling through random Twitter messages can’t explain the appeal. You have to do it — and, more important, do it with friends. (Monitoring the lives of total strangers is fun but doesn’t have the same addictive effect.)
- Very low penetration in Australia compared to US – opportunity for students to become an expert in blogging and micro-blogging before the wave hits.
- Once the hype dies down it may simply become useful.
- New features such as grouping (friends, family, colleagues) may make Twitter more usable
- How will Twitter respond to competitors such as Pownce, Dodgeball, and Tumblr
- Another part of the confusing web 2.0 jungle – making sense of it all