Sunday, 23 March 2008

Twitter - Creating Care Where There Was None

I've heard the name 'Twitter' banded around in discussions about Web 2.0, people listing the social networking sites they use, and so forth, but I had no idea what it was. So, after hearing Kevin Rose mention it on a recent DiggNation, I decided to go and see exactly what the deal was.

I had three questions going in...
  • What function does it have?
  • What can it do that I will find useful?
  • Why was it made?
Having used it for a day, I think I have the answer to the first two, and half an answer to the last question.

Twitter's function is to provide a means for you to care about the minutiae of all your friends, co-workers, and family members' day, and for them to care about the minutiae of your day. Eating soup? Put "eating soup" on your Twitter. Watching Lost? Going for a walk? Going out on the rob? Climbing a mountain? Get that shit on your Twitter. Apparently, this is among the most exciting things on the Interwebs.

Twitter's use for me looks like it will be unifold: something to do in the ten minute break in the middle of a two-hour lecture. Today, I applied the statuses in the picture to the left. They included me eating an easter egg, me working, and comments. I'm not entirely sure on what gain there is from this service. It's interesting, sure, but not nearly as interesting as the fact that people actually use this site - that it's actually popular.

So, why was Twitter created? I couldn't get a direct answer to that question that wasn't distinctly uninformative, but, from my impression, it seems that Twitter was created because, in the dawning ages of Web2.0, we needed a tech demonstration. Twitter seems to be that tech demonstration, so I can't help but feel that, while this is nice and all, it would be much more useful if it was extended into a application that isn't just a 21st Century means of saying "look what I'm doing, and care about it".

I'm not sure if I'll be keeping this Twitter thing up. I have it wired into my GoogleTalk on my PC, and a widget for updating it on my Mac, so I certainly have the opportunity to keep updating it. I'm just not sure I'll remember. To start thinking about one's daily activities as worthy of what is essentially a one-line blog is an odd paradigm to attempt to step into. Blogging about thoughts, findings, and general shit is good. Blogging about the fact that you're watching Lost... I can't see that retaining my interest.


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