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Why Twitter

I began a conversation with Christy Tucker this morning that has me thinking and trying to reflect on the purpose of Twitter. Here’s the conversation so far so I can try to continue it here:

Me: Just read your blog, Twitter is different due to searchability, reaching masses, and being asynchronous.

ChristyATucker: I’m searchable via my blog w/o Twitter and I don’t want thousands of readers/followers. Blogs are asynch conversations too.

Me: True. But blogs are more like monologues. Twitter is for the quick and dirty info. in reply to ChristyATucker

ChristyATucker: Not sure blogs are monologues if you have comments or responses. But I agree that Twitter is good for quick & dirty.

Me: Right, they can have a conversation element. Twitter is like chat meets blog.

ChristyATucker: I get the analogy of Twitter as blog + chat, but why do we need that combo? What can we do here that we can’t elsewhere?
Yes, you can share information on a blog and carry a conversation through comments. This is much easier for the blog writer to do because they can be notified when new comments are posted. Often, the commenter can only tell when comments were replied to by checking back to the blog (Yes, I know some blogging services do allow commenters to be notified also but not all do).  Yes, you can have a conversation on a chat or IM but that requires both parties to be logged in at the same time and is private between the two people. (Which is great if it needs to be a private conversation, but what if other people could benefit from it as well?) As far as I know (and I do not claim to be an expert because I am not a cell phone fan), many IM and blogging services are not cell phone friendly. With Twitter you can interact with not only other computer users but also people who are away from their computers and using their phones. You can get up to the minute reports from all different venues. We need the combination of a blog and a chat because we are impatient people who want to know everything. Twitter allows us to spread news quickly and in just enough words to get our point across without losing interest. It isn’t a matter of not being able to live without Twitter because we know we can. We could go to the blogs to voice our opinions, the news feeds to get our news, chats to interact with each other, IM’s for private conversations, and wait for the people at conferences to come back and tell us what happened….but why would we? We can do that all right there on that one little site. (Oh ya, and it is great for networking too.)
You know, I never really thought of myself as an active Twitter spokesperson….guess I was wrong.

Categories: General
  1. June 19, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Networking and community are definitely the best reasons to use Twitter. I didn’t know about your blog until I started following you on Twitter. Twitter extends and opens discussion to a much broader audience. Yeah, that creates some noise, but we can learn to filter it out. I blogged about the point of Twitter a couple of weeks ago: http://elearningdevnews.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/missing-the-point-of-twitter/

    • Sue
      June 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm

      Great points! I have no idea why I missed those. That is definitely how I use Twitter.

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