Twittering Tweets Trouble The Times' Truthseekers

I find the ongoing attempts to "get" twitter interesting, as if everything must have a defined purpose in order to be. I use twitter, play around with writing code for it, and I have absolutely no idea what it will be in a year, if it's even around.

The latest article is a New York Times piece From Many Tweets, One Loud Voice on the Internet. The article doesn't add much to the discussion, but I did like this statement attributed to Evan Williams: Twitter is best understood as a highly flexible messaging system that swiftly routes messages, composed on a variety of devices, to the people who have elected to receive them in the medium the recipients prefer.

I wrote elsewhere that I could see twitter becoming a sort of personal message queuing system. It's asynchronous, you just keep writing messages to the queue and your consumers, your readers, your receivers can get the messages on their cell or I/M immediately, or on their twitter page, your twitter page, or via a web feed.

The 140 character limit imposes brevity, there's a penalty if you try sending too much information. You just can't afford to wrap a SOAP or other XML language around your message.

It's tempting to make it into something big, something major, because it must be something major to get all the attention it's receiving, right? Why can't people just enjoy it for what it is, a simple messaging system. You don't have to use it, you don't have to subscribe to it, it isn't required. If you don't want to use it, then don't.

The Times' writer Jason Pontin writes:

But I also strongly disliked the radical self-revelation of Twitter. I wasn’t sure that it was good for my intimate circle to know so much about my daily rounds, or healthy for me to tell them. A little secretiveness is, perhaps, a necessary lubricant in our social relations. I wondered whether twittering could ever have broad appeal.

I recall a similar complaint about blogging. You reveal as much or as little about yourself as you want to, no one forces you to reveal more than you choose to.

My twitter account is twitter.com/epc. You can follow me to see when I'm walking the dogs. Apologies for the headline.

Posted in Twitter

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