I’ve been using Twitter today, and as in the early days of blogging, half the posts seem to be thinking about the technology itself. It’s kind of fun, to be honest, though I suspect it might not be sustainable.

So what is Twitter? Well, it’s sort of like a blog that’s all short (max 140 character) posts. Your stream is merged with your friends, and people can subscribe to other people’s feeds. You can have your friends’ messages – or “tweets” – sent to your phone as SMSes (for free unless you pay for incoming SMSes) and you can SMS Twitter, or deal with it through an IM.

I’ve noticed very different ways of thinking about Twitter. Liz Lawley, for instance, sees it as a presence marker that supports social relationships when people can’t actually spend enough time together. So she only “friends” people she actually has relationships with. Robert Scoble, on the other hand, befriends people madly and has 800 or so friends – basically he reads (or scans) everyone who reads his feed. He’s a good scanner. And he says he uses Twitter to pick up trends – not at all the same use as Liz, in other words. I wonder whether there are even more options?

1 Comment

  1. Oyvind

    I think Twitter has the same “problem” as other social services on the net: It’s difficult to make a difference bewteen “real” friends and others. Example with Flickr: Let’s say I want to follow Scoble, I have to add him as a friend, to see his Twitters. Well, we’re not really friends. He has linked to me once, and we have e-mailed a couple of times. But he wouldn’t have recongnized me even if I jumped up and down in front of him.

    Flickr solves this in a good way. On Flickr you can define people as Family, Friend or Contact. That’s the three levels I need. I can set different access for different levels. Family can see my holiday photos, Friends can see my party photos, my Contacts can see my nudes (just kidding).

    I like Twitter a lot (follow me if you like: http://twitter.com/oyvind ), and I hope the service can grow soon. It needs more stability, and something like Flickr’s Family/Friends/Contact. And not be bought by Yahoo. 😉

    I guess I use Twitter as something in the middle of Liz and Robert. Both to put out half-private messages, and to see what other people I’m interested in do. And as a strange way of IMing. Sometimes people twitter something, and I would like to reply but since they not have added me as friend, it’s no use.

    That’s a good thing. As Robert says in a comment on his site: “Twitter doesnít have the expectation Iíll answer. IM does.” Very good point.

    It’s an interesting service, and it’s fun to see how it evolves. I think it will grow really big.

    For now, it’s so small, that it doesn’t even show up in Google trends: http://www.google.com/trends?q=twitter

    I think SXSW will change that, as just about everyone half famous in the blogsphere twitters… from cars, concerts, planes etc.

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