Monday, February 12, 2007

Twitter

Now days I tell people that my life is an open book. I document the happenings in my life on my blog, Non breaking Space and I just give the blog url to people who ask what’s happening in my life. Before I used to send long mails about what’s happening in my life to all my friends and family, but now I blog and they read it and put in comments.

I had also said here previously that I have become an avid reader of other’s blogs, thanks to Google Reader. The community which I created using my blog gave me links to other’s blogs to read what they write. And thus we all stay in the loop. Now my friends seldom ask me what’s happening… coz they all know what’s happening.

Even though sometimes I write long posts on my blog, I personally like to read short posts and snippets. When I browse through the feeds in Google Reader daily, the first priority I give are for the short ones. I somehow tend to lose interest in reading long posts unless they are really captivating. I also advice my friends who blog to try splitting up their long posts into different stories and post separately to make it more interesting.

Twitter is a web application which is build upon the simple theory of micro blog posts. Using Twitter you don’t have to wait for a week to consolidate the happening in your life into one long post and make it uninteresting to your readers, but can post micro posts any time and every time you are doing something. You can add in your group of friends and let them know about your new twitter and constantly stay in loop. Twitter asks you one simple question “What are you doing?” for which you have to answer how many ever times you want and they will all be available on your twitter time line sorted by time. It marries two hot things on the web now, blogs and social networking. That’s why Twitter is red hot.

Susheel and I were talking about twitter the other day and the user evangelisms happening on it. Many people make use of Twitter for many different reasons. If I like twitter coz of its micro posts and the ability of posting my status message on my blog, Susheel likes it for other reasons. He says that Twitter makes you condense what ever in your head into a small sentence. It makes you focus. That’s an interesting view too. It’s very tough to make people understand about this service who are unaware of blogging and social networking and the experience it gives but once you are in it, I’m sure you will be addicted to it. If you really don’t know what to do with it, you can probably just look at their public timeline at regular intervals and kill your time. Its real time pass. I also made a friend there.

The other best thing of Twitter is that its not just web. As the whole idea is to send short posts, the use of mobile text messaging comes into the picture and yes you can also send in twitters using your mobile phone and receive from others. For people like me who are always online, there is an IM integration too which allows me to add the Twitter agent to my Google Talk and send messages which will be posted on my Twitter time line. A web badge also allows me to post my current Twitter message on my website.

My love for Twitter has made me vote for Twitter for The 10th Annual SXSW People's Choice Award. Vote for it if you are a Twitter fan.

17 comments:

The Visitor said...

Hi Umesh,
Quite a coincidence. Today morning I read this post of yours and wanted to say the same thing to you.
That is blogging provides whatever twitter offers (Expressing oneself, networking / communication). I haven't analysed twitter in detail, to take a definitive stand on its use.
Blogging permits me to be either
as a known person in the real world,
or as an anonymous blog persona.
I am so obsessed with this anonymity, that twitter seems (to me) to be an open book, open for anyone to read. It seems like an intrusion on my privacy.
I am not sure why you say that blog posts have to be necessarily long - I have seen posts that are just one line long.
The thing I like about blogger is that it helps you 'discover' new friends on the Web. It allows one to establish friendship based on mutual interests etc. In fact, most, if not all, of the bloggers with whom I communicate through posts and comments are persons whom I met in blogosphere, of whose real world identity I know little or nothing about.

From a superficial reading of Thoughts on twitter, its light-weight nature and non-synchronous communication is emphasised. That may be true. Then I would classify it as a kind of archived IM.
Its entire purpose would be communication to a select group, so what it achieves is more of communication.
Whereas blogging (my own take) is not just communication, it is used as a medium for expression too.
Of course, maybe both can be used interchangeably, the user deciding what (s)he wants to use it for.

Just some of my thoughts. Maybe if I try twitter I might become a twitter addict. I remember in the early days of email, i used to literally chat using email. LOL.

Umesh said...

Welcome to White Space Visitor.

First of all lemme suggest that you use twitter, understand it in and out and then get addicted or hate it. Please dont have a say on it before using it.

Lemme answer your point here.

> I am so obsessed with this anonymity, that twitter seems (to me) to be an open book, open for anyone to read. It seems like an intrusion on my privacy.

Well it depends on how much info you put in when you register twitter account. I guess you have registered your blogger account using the name visitor. You can do exactly the same thing on twitter too and also choose not to put in a picture.

Lets consider twitter as a micro blog. ie, twitter gives you a warning if your post goes more than 160 characters. You can post/recieve twits using your phone and so the limit. However it takes your post however long it is but show the limited one on the phone and the full version on the web.

You can also add twitter agent to your google chat as a contact, so you can post the twit just by sending it like a chat message. You can even recieve posts from others you choose to recieve.

There is a public timeline on twitter which shows all the twits which has come in and anyone can see them. Now you can choose to be out of this too. You can choose it to go to the people only you like, the selected group you said. Compare it with bloggers listing of your blog on their home page and you choosing not to get listed and going for a pwd protected blog access.

> I am not sure why you say that blog posts have to be necessarily long - I have seen posts that are just one line long.

Agreed. But this one is micro blog and for that reason it has to be short. Its for people who wants to post only one liners. How does this make sense? Imagine you are attending a conference. You are doing live blogging. You keep on posting stuff as and when it happens in the conference in one liners and as and when you post your friends are updated not only on web, their chat and also mobile phones. People actually use twitter to get news updates.

> The thing I like about blogger is that it helps you 'discover' new friends on the Web.

I think this is more easier on twitter. Just go to the public timeline, try to follow someone who you think is worth following (there are many hight profile bloggers on twitter) add them as friend, send them direct messages and keep them in the loop. I use twitter to update my status message on Non Breaking Space (Just see what i'm doing now right below my profile top right).

> Then I would classify it as a kind of archived IM.

Wonderful thats another name for twitter and thats the beauty of it. You can use it in anyway you want it to be. But the point is that you always answer to a question in twitter which makes it focussed. The question being "What are your doing"?. I dont send messages saying "Are you coming for movie with me?" even though I can. But the same message I can put it another way keeping the question to which i'm answering in mind. "I'm wondering if Visitor will come for a movie with me." :-) Its expresses my thoughts for sure.

Another beauty of twitter is its API using which any one can build applications using Twitter's functionality. Might not be a use for you directly, but it does gives the oppurtunity for others to build more useful services out of twitter. like this one http://twittermap.com/. The very point of yours, how to find a friend on twitter. Just go to this service which was developed mashing up Twitter API and Google Map API to find out people who twits from different geaographies. Just go to the place of your choice and find someone who whom you can add as a friend.

Actually twitter is a very simple application and prehaps the most easy thing which can ever be done. But the point is how anyone can makes use of it. And its open. You can make use of it anyway you want. To make friends (i have made many), to listen to influential people (I follow Robert Scoble, the most influencial geek blogger), to update my status on my blog, to get news updates (you can follow bbc and google news on twitter), to get event updates(like SXSW or 3gsm), or to make new services using Twitter.

Try it. You might not find it useful. Thats fine. But there are many others who find it interesting. :-) Its like my ladies finger complaint.

The Visitor said...

Hi Umesh,
I am sorry that I commented on twitter in a generic fashion, without having seen what it really is, and what it can do. :)

As the ABN-Amro ad goes:
Different people different needs. :)
I feel that twitter and blogs cater to different needs of people. While it might be possible, to make use of either for the purpose it was not primarily meant for, the best way to use them would be for the specific purposes they were each meant for.

Even blogs have been 'customized' by individuals for specific purposes. For example, I created a blogger account specifically to comment on blog posts, when I felt I had something to say, which is probably not what blogging is all about. My attempts at blogging have been more in reading rather than on sharing my own ideas (because I really do not have strong opinions about most things).

I will certainly give twitter a try before dissing it. :)

The Visitor said...

I have just opened a twitter account - so you know where you'll find me :)
PS: Umesh, I want to clarify that my aim is NOT to decry twitter or any other thing for that matter.
PPS: I will have an open mind on twitter.

Umesh said...

Btw is "Different people different needs" an ABN Amro Ad? I thought its HSBC :-)

Also you made a blogger account just to comment on blogs? Well its ok but just to tell you to comment on blogs (even if its blogger/blogspot) you dont really need a blogger account. You can select the "Other" option to put in your name and comment or select the "anonymous" option to be anonymous.

I think you really need to check out things before commenting on them. :-)

The Visitor said...

Sorry, it is the HSBC ad. Old age catching up with me.
I was first commenting using other nd anonymous, but some blogs do not allow anonymous comments. Later this blog is gave me a blog person, and I started to blog too - in my own fashion.

Umesh said...

Ah Visitor, my twitter id is "ooomz". you can find me at http://www.twitter.com/ooomz. add me as a friend.

The Visitor said...

I was first commenting using other nd anonymous, but some blogs do not allow anonymous comments. Later this blog is gave me a blog person, and I started to blog too - in my own fashion.
Horrible english!

Read as:
I was first commenting using "other" and "anonymous" options, but some blogs do not allow anonymous comments, I created the visitor. Later this blog name gave me a blog persona, and I started to blog too - in my own fashion.

I seem to be unable to add you as a frien. My twitter id is /visitor

Umesh said...

Twitter is a bit flaky of late. I think its not able to handle the traffic. Thanks to all of us who is creating the hype. as u know any publicity is good publicity. I will add you tomorrow for sure.

The Visitor said...

Bye then :)
Twitter is just too slow! yay!
Just poking fun at you ;).

Umesh said...

Agreed. Its slow as of late. Its a top contenter at SXSW awards and may be coz of that there is huge traffic towards it.

The Visitor said...

Added you finally! :)

The Visitor said...

(twitter's response)Reminded of the way children respond when parents try to show them off in front of guests. ;)

The Visitor said...

Agreed -
1. Twitter is gr8 for networking from the public timeline.
2. Given my propensity for getting addicted I could become addicted to twitter.

Umesh said...

Great :-)

The Visitor said...

From a link on your blog: Is twitter too good

Umesh said...

Yes i know. I put it there. Thats my link blog shared using Google Reader.

The article is really good about the over hype on twitter written by Kathy Sierra. She is again one more influencial blogger in the user experience arena.