Conversations here, conversations there. Where am I? I’m late to the Twitter party. A lot of people have written about Twitter, the micro-blogging platform that connects people all over the world. I was hesitant to join Twitter because I didn’t see it much different than posting your status on Facebook. And while my first impression was a bit superficial, there are some differences worth tweeting about.
First, Twitter is more like a slow online chat session than a blogging platform. That’s because while the posts are instant, not everyone who will respond will be online at the same time as the person making the first post, or tweet. Ah, but many strangers are online and can respond fairly quickly. The public nature of Twitter is what I find most fascinating. Typically, online chat sessions and email are private conversations. Twitter, if you let it, will make all of your posts and status updates available to the entire world. Complete strangers can comment on what you’re eating for lunch. If they find what you’re eating for lunch is super-special, they can “follow” you. When you get followed, people basically subscribe to receive all your posts.
Twitter becomes like a Grand Central Station, you overhear conversations of thousands of people in a short amount of time. It’s this voyeuristic quality that makes Twitter interesting and have such broad appeal. Facebook, by design is a closed network. You often need to be invited to participate with friends. Twitter is public, and you can search for any topic using the service to pull up reactions for that topic. For example, I searched tweets to determine if Slumdog Millionaire was worth seeing. Many people posted that the movie was amazing. I saw it based on what people said about the movie. It was amazing.
Web 2.0 and public relations professionals love Twitter because news stories and Web sites can go viral when posted to the service if there are enough followers tracking the poster. Darren Rowse, a prominent blogger, credits Twitter with generating a lot of traffic to his site.
Want to know what celebrities are up to? You can follow Britney Spears and Al Gore on Twitter if you like. If someone of importance tweets about a news article or video, it’s easy to see how it can generate a lot of traffic. It’s like having a podium available to you 24/7. What celebrity wouldn’t like that? Another application: imagine a modern-day evangelist with “followers” on Twitter. Interesting.
Twitter is an open platform, so there are many applications and ways you can post tweets. You can SMS them on your phone, use one of the many iPhone applications, or use the Web. You can syndicate your tweets and post them on your Web site or blog.
Wanna find out what’s going on with me? Go ahead, I’m an open Twitterer.