Its a safe bet that you probably heard of Twitter by now, but just in case, let me give you the lowdown. Twitter is a “micro-blogging” or “life-streaming” service that asks you what you are doing. You can update on your “life’s progress” by texting in from the site, phone or a desktop client and you can follow and get followed by people. You are limited to texting 140 characters and can post links.
I’ve been using the service for almost a year now. It’s been an odd and interesting experience. It’s like a giant chat-room(when you start following a lot of people) where everybody is not necessarily talking to anybody. That initial impression is what throws people off. Twitter is one those services where there is no middle ground when it comes to peoples initial reaction. Either you love it or completely hate it. However, my opinion about the service has reached a “middle ground” lately.
Twitter has been hyped like hell. The hype is not completely unjustified, but there are some aspects of the hype that are a little misleading. First you got people like Robert Scoble with his contagious enthusiast preaching, defining the service as something more than it actually is. Then there’s the bloggeratti community preaching on and making rules on how to use it.
There are so many things that have been written about what Twitter is, that its kind of mind boggling that it’s no more about “what are you doing”. It’s been called a breaker of news, a helpful community that shares and the “best” resource out there. Some aspects of those claims are true, but it’s still a giant chat-room where everybody is not necessarily talking to anybody.
It doesn’t take much time to figure out that a great majority uses the service to increase traffic to their site. You can have conversations in Twitter, but it’s much harder than on other services. And really, it’s a service that makes people pretty self absorbing. But I’m OK with all that.
I actually prefer to follow a person that’s eating a sandwich or taking a shower, than a linker. It’s OK. It shows that you’re human and the reality that not everything is relevant in life. That’s one reason why I’ve reached a middle ground opinion about the service. People have gotten a little inhibited because of the way it has been hyped and defined.
There are better services that let you do much more and that probably offer a better way to have meaningful exchanges with folks out there on the interwebs, but I’ll probably keep using Twitter because it’s one way out of many ways, that I can keep in touch with people that I care what they have to say. But it’s definitely not the best thing since bred came sliced.