7 December 12
Twitter After Two Days
Last Saturday there was a thread on MetaFilter comparing Twitter and Facebook, linking back to among other things a piece by MetaFilter founder Matt Haughey on why he loves Twitter but barely tolerates Facebook. I am not now on and am not likely to sign up for Facebook in the foreseeable future, but the arguments in the piece for why Twitter can be a lot of fun made sense, so I’ve decided to give it a whirl. Several observations after a couple of days:
- The Internet is in the constant habit of repackaging old wine in new bottles. The Wikipedia page for microblogging under “related concepts” says that “in the Finger protocol, the .project and .plan files are sometimes usedmaking for status updates similar to microblogging.” Change the verb there to were used and you might have something there — that particular protocol was used in a far more innocent age of internetworking. Much more recently, we have RSS. A lot of the niche Twitter fills (rapid aggregation of news) is also carried out by RSS, but Twitter seems to have displaced RSS for a lot of users.
- If everybody and their grandmother literally is on Facebook, the proportion of active Twitter users still seems pretty low. Many organizations that one would expect to have a Twitter feed have yet to adopt the platform.
- That said, at least in my fields of interest, enough experts are actively posting links to new content via Twitter that it is clear that the platform is quite valuable in keeping track of professional developments.
- I really like the fact it’s not much effort for me to play too. I see a blog post I like, I tweet it, and make a pithy comment.
- It may be rare to find, but 140 characters or less of text can express the sublime.