2009/06/07

Twitter is Good for You

And it might be good for me too.

I just read an article in Time magazine about Twitter and how it is becoming the next big thing, the next big platform for information on the web, on par with Facebook or even Google. Naturally, I had to give it a try and see what the hype is all about.

And here I am. I also added a little feed on the side here with my latest tweets. Nifty.

So what's the big deal? Well, according to Steven Johnson, the new way of sharing and filtering information made possible by Twitter, with its networks of followers and tiny status updates, is transforming a number of important information channels:

News and Opinion
  • The links passed by people on Twitter function as a sort of customized newspaper. News we read may be more diverse, but also more insulated.
Searching
  • Finding info through your network on Twitter will be an alternative to Google. Instead of a generic PageRank guiding our search, we have direct recommendations from friends.
Advertising
  • Businesses will be highly motivated to attract Twitter followers. This necessitates a new form of customer interaction, to keep people following the feed.
I've found a few other articles along similar lines. This one had some interesting points to make. Even more intriguing is this article on bit.ly, one of the link shorteners often seen on Twitter. Just like Twitter could be the next Google, bit.ly or one of its competitors could be the next Digg. It all seems to point to "the complete disaggregation of the web in parallel with the slow decline of the destination web."

It's enough for me to get an account and try it out for myself. So far it's been pretty fun. :) I'm eager to really get into this and hone my tweeting skills.

What makes me really excited about Twitter is that I think it could really fit into my process, better than blogging, even. See, I have several layers through which I filter and organize my thoughts. At the most immediate level is my notebook, which I started a couple months ago at the prompting of this blog post. There I write thoughts, lists, notes, ideas, and basically anything that I want to remember later or get down on paper, and it has been very helpful. It's like freewriting, except for life instead of, well, writing.

The next level is my idea notebook, which I write in every day, choosing one or two worthwhile ideas or observations to explain more fully. And my retroactive planner, in which I summarize the events of the day in order to reflect and realize how much time I wasted doing unimportant things.

And after that is my blog, this thing you're reading. I use this blog to finalize my thoughts, to make them public and therefore solid and defined. The problem is that it usually takes me multiple hours to craft a decent post, and I can go for weeks without finding the time to do so. Even now I've had one post sitting around, unfinished, for almost three weeks and I'm still not sure when I'll be done with it.

So to me, Twitter looks like a good intermediary step between my rough notebook and my idea notebook. I can write more or less the same sort of thoughts I would record in my notebook, but with a bit more attention paid to clarity of expression and relevance to other people. And it's so much easier for me to write these short little tweets than it is to write these excruciatingly long blog posts.

Hope you like tweets. You'll probably be seeing a lot more of them!

And look, I've already found some cool stuff through Twitter. Here's a fascinating interview with Jenova Chen, where he really goes into detail on what he wants to do with games. We're getting there! :) Social play, emotion, thoughtful fun - these are all new areas to explore. I can hardly wait to get going.

1 comment:

Duncan Smith said...

Hm, interesting. My (admittedly pessimistic) view of Twitter is that it's a good place to drop random thoughts that I want to say but I don't really expect anyone to care about.