Three things about Twitter

Twitter is a wierd little network tool. You post up information in 140 characters or less. People can then ‘dine in’ – read the updates on the webpage. Or they can ‘Take Out’ – choose to receive your status updates on their mobile or cell phone, on an RSS reader, or get the update elsewhere…

Twitter is a wierd little network tool. You post up information in 140 characters or less. People can then ‘dine in’ – read the updates on the webpage. Or they can ‘Take Out’ – choose to receive your status updates on their mobile or cell phone, on an RSS reader, or get the update elsewhere such as Facebook. (dine in/take out blog post)

So my three things:

1. Testimonials and Status Updates (people)
One, Twitter is good for getting a brief update on the status of the people in my social network. They are either eating, applying for jobs, moving house, having babies or watching television. Variations on that theme. Think testimonials or Facebook Status Updates. One -to – many (I don’t really expect a response) broadcast mechanism about me. When Twitter asks you “what are you doing?” we all expect you to answer.
Typical things I might say:

  • Listening to Amy Winehouse
  • Getting ready for bed
  • Crying over a silly movie
  • waiting for beer-o’clock
  • Looking for a new job (business)
  • Searching for a fix to XYZ error message. Anyone? (business)
  • wanting an introduction to the marketing manager at Optus (business)

2. Filter, Discoverability, Social Search (and share)
Second, Twitter is excellent at linking me to other sites. Not people but sites. My ‘homies (is that the right spelling?) tell me where else I should be looking on the ‘net for information. Twitter automatically puts in a link so that it fits into 140 characters (a little buggy, should auto-generate tinyurl BEFORE counting characters). You are not so much broadcasting about yourself, just linking me to things you found that were interesting. Twitter is really asking “what did you find?”
Companies (and Friends) Broadcasting News

ABC News abcnews Chimps calculate as well as some uni students: Researchers from Duke University in the United States have.. mashable mashable Pownce Goes Mobile! ( )
Andrew Sayer andrewsayer In popular demand and in the interest of 80’s American propaganda I present on YouTube to you, the Short Circuit trailer

3. Conversation and Discussion
Twitter is also acting as an (almost) instant chat channel for all my friends. When I put an @duncanriley or an @jjprojects, they get the message. And I mean that literally; it shows up under a special tab called replies. Rather than a testimonial (“I feel hot”, “I’m going to work”) or a linkety-link (“funny video TINYURL.LINK” “newspaper article on social networks TINYURL.LINK”) it’s stream of consciousness.
Me: Hi!
Me: Long time no see
You: yeah
Me: wassup
You: nuffin’

Meaningful stuff like that. 😛
I’m not sure whether these are public one-on-one chats (there’s a private chat option, like most networks). Or maybe it’s a many-to-one chat (many people @you comments).
Twitter is asking: “what are you saying and to whom?”

what is the international dialling code to call out of Australia? The + won’t work 🙁

eric scheid ericscheid @SilkCharm on landlines, it used to be 0011
cyberetto cyberetto @silkcharm: 0011
Kevin Yank sentience @SilkCharm 0011 (country code) (phone number)
Michael Specht mspecht @SilkCharm 0011 my dear
griffmiester griffmiester @SilkCharm 0011
Cody Jones Extremo @SilkCharm I always thought it was 0011?
Grant gyoung @SilkCharm: 0011

Interesting application if you think of sales people asking a question or technical support/customer service.

What do I want for the future? I want additional tabs – Not just replies but one for *important* conversations I might miss over night. After all, this is a communication network and I am more likely to miss important discussions here than say, on MySpace (content) or Facebook (discoverability). I like having several hundred people on my list, I feel like I’m at a busy popular party, but it would be nice to thread out those discussions that are with my important people. Yes, that includes you. In social networking parlance, this is ‘swarming down’ or tribing up’ or subgroups.

EDIT – next morning: Blink and the ‘future’ is here. Hashtags ( needs further investigating. Add them as a Twitter User (follow them) then put a # before and after# your tags. I need to check this out some more. BRB (be right back).

The first two are not targetted – broadcast messages about oneself or one’s content. The last one is targetted discussions.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter. It can get very rowdy. 🙂

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  1. Interesting point about tech support – one of our vendors’ tech support people is on Twitter (not “officially” but “personally”) and a couple of times we’ve been able to expedite some solutions because he and I ‘tweet’

  2. Until/unless there are real threaded discussions on Twitter, it’s just noise to me. It takes a peculiar kind of forced concentration to read all those tweets, one by one, searching for meaning or relevance…

  3. @ric yeah it’s saved my butt a few times now. not many social networks give me the ability to ask questions in realtime – sort of like “phone a friend”. Without having to phone around and see who is answering/on vmail/doesn’t know the answer.

    @steven noble News breaks first on Twitter. It’s also MORE passive. I can sit back/check in occasionally and see what the ‘net is buzzing about. Like a general IRC room. But I really do want tagging/tabs to thread out discussions. Sort of like private rooms in IRC (internet relay chat) or groups chat in virtual worlds (Second Life etc).

    I got used to scanning @name 20 odd years ago, so I can filter out the guff. But it does feel odd to be back here, doing it again, there should be better tools.

    The REPLIES tab is useful. I chuck out a question and check replies an hour later. Not too often, the community doesn’t respond well to ‘users’. I try to answer a few Q too 🙂

  4. Thanks for this blog post and it reminded me on the importance of the replies tab. Just found those that I missed because I wasn’t following them.

  5. you are welcome Janette. I just put a small EDIT in for #hashtags# – a way of threading out discussions. But I think you have to go to another site.

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