I was recently asked once to describe what exactly is Twitter and why is it such the in thing. I must admit: when it came out, I did fire a few notes and got some noise sent to my cell phone. About a year later, it made sense.
Some people (present company included sometimes) hate writing. It’s a pain. In a non-stop slew of conference papers, journal articles, and book chapters, I don’t want to come home to blog about it all. However, in that short moment before lunch, I could easily shout out 140 characters about my dismay, how I’m going to lunch, or if I’m in need of coffee. The hard limit ensures a low barrier to entry.
The question is content. I’ve watched my friends Twitter information (like they are going out of town for the weekend), jokes about not wanting to clean their apartment, and even commentary as they watch episodes of Dr. Who. I personally like to shout to my friends how I’m headed to Berkeley but I’m parked on I-880 without AC in 104 degree weather or how I managed to get my car towed.
Over the next few days, I realized how I couldn’t tell my friends about my day. I’d see someone, they’d ask how I’d been. I start my tale of traffic and heat…then I get cut short. Yah – how about you tell me something I didn’t read on Twitter.
I started thinking about my feeds:
Twitter – shouts
Del.icio.us – information urls
This Blog – longer ramblings
Facebook – the sum of the previous three
Flickr – things i’ve seen
Something about the low bandwidth seems to make it easier for people to ‘follow’. Currently, things like FriendFeed seem to aim to make it all in one…but I think i like the individual channels at this moment; it reminds me of surfing on TV.