Sunday, August 31, 2008

Twitter - What's the point?

Interestingly, today a friend of mine had invited me to Twitter. I thought I would check it out.

It appears to be simply a service that lets people know what you are up to. Alerts can be configured so every 24 hours if you have not posted an update on what you are doing, it will remind you to do so. Mobile updates can be configured as well, fo those that really want to keep an eye on what others they are 'following' are up to.

I must be missing something with Twitter... I don't see the point. So many other, more capable sites, provide similar functionality. FaceBook for example allows me to provide a quick message allowing me to provide my status, as well as offering other functionality such as games and other content.

Perhaps the draw to this site is the simplicity of it. It really is pretty simple to use, however MySpace and FaceBook on the other hand can be a bit confusing to newcomers. And, there have been instances where news is posted on Twitter before it actually makes it into the media, such as in the case of the Los Angeles earthquake a few weeks ago, however even then it isn't a profitable venture as of yet.

We'll just have to see how Twitter evolves in the future. I hope they add some unique functionality that FaceBook and MySpace don't already offer.

5 comments:

Dave said...

I think the differentiator for twitter is the simplicity. It's very single purpose, and the short updates are ideal for portable devices. It can even get you out of jail:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/04/25/twitter.buck/

wincoder said...

I suppose that if you desperately need to track the every thought of someone who has the free time to constantly post their status to Twitter, it's great. On the other hand if you're looking to change the world or find out the results of the first beam trial for the LHC it's pretty trivial and pointless.

DrC said...

*laughs* I had little time for Twitter until I realized what a powerful tool it is at conferences. I'd see tweets arrive from folks in the back of the room, as they provided insights into the speaker's content and the state of the research, reporting the event while it was live.

They'd note that the topic under discussion is related to the research of... and tied to the recent developments in the field of...as it was presented at the... conference.

I felt as if I were party to a grand conversation, yet not required to contribute unless I had something of interest to the community.

These insights opened my eyes to the power of social media and purposeful observation. I rarely twitter about commonplace activities, preferring instead to use it as a record of significant milestones in my life.

I found some of my favorite scholars on Twitter, offering insights into their current research. Rather than wait for them to finish and document it, I gain insights into the process as it is happening...in 140-character tweets.

It may seem simplistic, but I can also mark them as favorites, especially those that include urls and store them in context with the conference and researcher who posted them.

This term, one of my heroes contacted me to find out what our class thought of his social media site. Connecting with a broader network of researchers has expanded my vision of the world and stimulated my research.

As a student, we often get locked into a pattern not unlike cruise control, responding to assignments and conducting research in response to the stimulus from others.

At some point, you realize that your ideas can make a difference and that it is hard to share them unless you extend your vision beyond your current activities and circle of influence. *smiles*

You already use one of the features by directing your IMs to your mobile device. Twitter feeds or only the direct messages from twitter can be sent to your email or cell phone, making it useful while traveling to conferences.

DrC said...

Hmm, I have a Facebook account, but only remember to log into it when someone sends me a message or request. *grins*

I love games, but my time is so divided these days that I did not install any widget games on my blog...although I did see a fun little mahjong game. *chuckles*

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