Demystifying Twitter

A number of posts have commented on the mysterious attraction of Twitter. Big-name bloggers love to Twitter but don’t articulate what exactly they love. Today, the New York Times published an article on the topic, calling Twitter a “social safety net.” Though the article directly concerns a suicidal Twitterer who discovers the power of his social network, it speaks to the general purpose of the tool. I have tried Twitter and then let it go. Does this mean that I already have a solid social safety net, or am I just introverted?

One comment

  1. Dylan Bennett says:

    I ran into the same thing you did. Twitter just isn’t useful to me. My day simply isn’t interesting enough in my opinion to post what I’m doing all the time.

    Another problem is that if I do happen to do anything interesting, it either gets posted to my blog, my YouTube channel, my Flickr photo stream, or my delicious account.

    I’ve been toying around with a Rails implementation of my site that is basically a mash-up of the content streams I mentioned above. In that scenario, Twitter would fit in, because it would have a place in the mashed-up stream as a "really short post". I guess what I’m making could be called a tumblelog of sorts, but with all the content being hosted separately with the appropriate service. But outside of that scenario, Twitter just doesn’t have enough use for me.

    Although, come to think of it, my reaction to Twitter is almost the same as the reaction I got from people when I first signed up for ICQ when it launched in the mid-90’s. (56k modems were the broadband of the day.) People just didn’t see how it would be useful. They would say, "I don’t get it. Why don’t you just send them an e-mail?" and "So, wait, you have to both be logged onto the Internet, and you both have to be running the program? At the same time? But why do you care if they are online?"

    And now look how big IM is. So, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. For now, though, I’m fine without it.