- dead simple and so easy you’ll barely know you’re using it (which is what really makes it work)
- a constant stream of banal life snippets of the world in 140 characters or less
- shouting out to no one and everyone with little expectation that anyone will read it or care
- a digital location-less replacement for the the social awareness of the village*
* In the village, you always knew
…that Agnes always went to the grocery store at noon on Sunday, and Old Fred’s hanging out at the tavern later than usual lately. In our messy chaos of busy urban life, we only run into most of our friends every week or so. We try to catch up but usually we only remember to mention the big things — not the little banal things which also make us who we are. As result, there’s something missing in our interactions, and we end up lacking that ambient social awareness that helps bring people together.
Not everyone “Get’s it”
While not perfect, Twitter somehow fills this gap in social awareness. You don’t feel it right away, which is why some people try it out for a week or so and then stop saying “I don’t get it!?!” However after a couple weeks of gleaning the stream of your friend’s twitters, you start to feel it. There it is out of the corner of you vision — you somehow feel closer to those people even though it’s hard to put your finger on why. And the next time you see them, the tension of “catching up” is softened.
What about LiveJournal?
For some LiveJournal works in this manner, but LJ is also as the name implies a journal, and it too often becomes a forum for melancholy narcissistic griping and the ubiquitous replies of *hugs* and commiseration. Not to mention, the flood of inane LJ memes (what CareBear are you?) which are a poor substitute for social bonding. It’s hard to really pour your heart out in 140 characters or less, and this limitation grants Twitter to fill a different role.
Floating In My Twitter Stream
I have to say that Twitter is more relevant when mobile (via sms or mobile browser; my iPhone is great for it), but it still fills it’s purpose on normal computer. I check my twitter stream every now and then and see my friends and my family (yes my parents have jumped on twitter and it’s fabulous). I also follow a couple other bloggers and people I find interesting or funny like Othar who writes what can only be described as Twitter fantasy fiction. With only the simplest perusing, I have a slightly stronger connection with all of their lives.
- My twitter page
- Wired Article: Clive Thompson on How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense
- Twitter googlemaps mashup – see twitter postings from around the world in real time. This is one of the things that made me get it
- List of Twitter Tools – desktop clients, plugins, and online tools