Sunday, April 6, 2008
Five Things about Twitter
1. "Why would anyone want to know what you're doing all the time?"
This is the first thing I thought when I heard about Twitter a year ago. I was skeptical and uninterested. But as of a few months ago, I've become a regular Twit Monkey. I'm still a newb, but I follow about 65 people and roughly 45 people follow me.
So, what is Twitter?
Common Craft makes great instructional videos and this is the one they did on Twitter:
Twitter is a microblog, an instant messenger, a social network and a community all in one place. It's also a backchannel for connecting with influential people in Marketing, PR, Media and Tech. Jeremiah Owyang has a very thorough post on his blog about ways marketers can use Twitter as part of a web strategy.
There are also a ton of apps that have been developed to further advance Twitter's usefulness.
I use TweetScan a lot. You can use it to search words/phrases being tweeted by everyone on Twitter. You can even set up alerts based on these keywords and TweetScan will send you an email digest of all your keyword-related Tweets for that day. I was searching one day for people tweeting about blues music and I came across my new Seattle friend, Anna. She works for Reclaim Media and was converting a BB King live recording and tweeting about it. Through our subsequent tweets, we discovered we may very well be BFFs who've never actually met in real life. And now we have a standing date to drink wine if I ever get myself to Seattle. Thanks, Twitter.
2. Mainstream media's breaking news is sloooooowwww compared to Twitter.
Example: a 5.3 magnitude earthquake happened in February in England. The news was instantly all over Twitter. The BBC didn't have info on the quake until 45 minutes later.
A lot of people on Twitter will "liveblog" an event...sending periodic updates in real-time during the shebang. I twittered the Obama rally at Municipal Auditorium in KC back in January. One of the Twitterers I follow recently twittered the path of a tornado near her town in Oklahoma, apparently providing some of her local Twitter friends with important storm warning info when their power went out and couldn't tune into the local news.
Twitter as a breaking news source has manifested in BreakingNewsOn, a Twitter profile you can follow that tweets breaking news as it happens in 140 characters or less. Which essentially breaks down to streaming headlines. It's proven to be incredibly quick and comprehensive in my experience. Certain headlines they tweet don't make it to broadcast or print for up to two days, if ever.
3. Twitter can often feel like a high school cafeteria.
Ok, let's talk about the Twitter cliques (Twiques?)...these are the groups of A-list bloggers, Web 2.0 PR/marketing types and early adopters who basically run Twitter. They're the popular crowd. They have eleventy billion people following them and in return, they only follow and respond to the upper eschelons of twitterers. I still haven't quite figured out exactly what the criteria is for entering in to this elite club. So far, I've determined you must author a credible, high-traffic blog, be in your thirties or forties, own a Blackberry or a Mac and have very little actual, face-to-face interaction with human beings. Hence being able to twitter and blog and podcast at the rate these people do it. And the fact that I meet none of these criteria might explain why I haven't updated my ultra low-traffic blog in two weeks.
And then there's the shit-talking and gossip. Yeah, big surprise, the popular kids say mean things about each other and spread rumors and go on and on and on and on about how important they are and pat each other on the back all day long. It's pretty boring, but you can't just un-follow them on the small chance they might actually one day let you sit at their table.
4. I kinda wish everyone Twittered.
Imagine what it would be like if everybody in the world was on Twitter. Who would you want to follow? And what would their tweets be like?
Here are some of the tweets I'd like to see:
BretMichaels staring at boobs. it kinda turns me on.
TyraBanks my vagina itches. hmmmm do i smell a topic for my next show?
AmyWinehouse visit @BlakeIncarcerated went smooth. smuggled in some junk in my ballet slipper. shhhhh...
KatieHolmes I ♥ koool-aid. Zenu ftw!
RickAstley blimey! rickrolled again...i fall for it every bloody time.
GaryBusey watercolor soul window doused in flames of beehive buttery sandpaper drivel. it all went up my nose. i'm painting with my nostrils. namaste.
TimGunn What's all this Strum and Draung about Google's announcement?
5. Twitter can make you a better version of yourself.