Thursday, December 11, 2008

What is Twitter good for?

I mentioned my growing interest in social media in a previous post. It started with Twitter a couple weeks ago. I had heard the name, but didn't know what it was good for so I decided to check it out. Well, you can't see what's going on unless you sign up, which I did. Since then, they have posted a video explaining what its all about (here). My twitter account can be found here. As you can see, it seems to be an instant messaging service - but who needs another one of those? No one, that I can see. So there has to be something more to it...

Well there is, and there isn't. It truly is just a site for posting messages under 140 words. Micro-blogging, it's being called. I can perhaps best explain it's appeal through some examples.

I heard a number of stories about how Twitter facilitates communication faster than any other medium. Do I mean it's faster to tweet your buddy than call him? No. What I mean is, twitter was the first medium to have first hand information on the Mumbai attacks out to the world. Another story to illustrate: when Guy Kawasaki forgot his power supply, he posted his need on Twitter and had 5 replacements offered in a few minutes. The best example, though, is how Terry Jones got an impromptu interview with Robert Scoble. Terry explains how it happened better than I could, here. Terry also coined the phrase Twittendipidty. In my own special case of twittendipity, I've been looking for an organization working in Haiti to support. So I randomly posted a question out there, and I think by chance someone saw it and pointed me toward Mission MANNA.

Interesting Stuff
Twitter is also useful for finding interesting content online. Some users specialize in finding and broadcasting links to interesting stuff. In the week I've been on Twitter, here are some notable examples:
Three of those four items came from @timoreilly's feed. I recommend following it.

I might try and get my family to join...

We'll see.

You can follow me here.

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