Twitter explained in 267 seconds

March 29th, 2009 by jason Leave a reply »

I was the guy on the left until last fall when John Troyer showed me how useful and powerful this tool can be during the VMworld 2008 virtualization conference. Properly used, it’s a real time professional networking and knowledge sharing tool, commonly called a microblog.

Thanks to the internet, the delivery of information to the masses can be ranked as follows in order of most timely to least timely:

  1. Twitter
  2. RSS feeds via blog posts and news articles
  3. Email
  4. Traditional mail

Notice I left out instant messaging (IM). IM from a technology perspective is as timely as Twitter except it differs significantly in one facet:

  • Tweets (messages in Twitter) are multicasted to hundreds, thousands, or millions of people instantly.
  • Instant Messages are spoken in one on one conversations. It could take days or weeks for spoken information to travel to the volumes of people that Twitter has the ability to reach instantly. Not only that, but think about how broken the message will become after it is repeated by dozens or hundreds of people. Like that old childhood game “Telephone to Norway”. An IM that originally started with “The sky is blue” may eventually end up as “Jesus had a 24 inch LCD”.

Although Twitter can be used with a web browser, getting the most out of it involves a combination of things like following the right people, using 3rd party Twitter clients like TweetDeck, setting up searches to refine incoming tweets only to what you want to see, etc. These are the things that will really help narrow the scope and define its intended use through customization.

But if you use Twitter merely for being a social butterfly, then yeah, it’s pretty much like how the guy on the left describes it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Each person makes Twitter what they want it to be.  With that in mind, it’s not so easy to stereotype its use.

Thanks for the link to the video William Lam.