If you haven’t checked out Twitter – it’s an interesting new little internet gadget. It allows you to post “tweets” – short little messages about what you are doing at that moment – for all the world to see. Questions abound about this service’s significance. Steve Rubel wants to know if Twitter will replace blogs. I signed up for an account, but I don’t see what the big deal is yet – aside from connecting the tehnological elite. Being the analytical guy I am here is an…analysis of Twitter’s appeal:
Twitter is bringing us one step closer to the virtual world wherein you share your thoughts with anyone who wants to hear them. Imagine if you will a future where all our brains are connected directly to the internet. Information is no longer stored on hard drives, but directly in your head, and your thoughts are shared or not shared as you see fit. You might put a filter on your brain that only allows thoughts about what you feel like eating out onto the internet. Or maybe you only share deep thoughts, etc…. Have I been reading too much Cory Doctorow?
What do we as a people gain from connecting ourselves to Twitter? Is it further insight into the way our fellow humans’ brains work? Is it a glimpse into others’ private lives we might not normally have – beyond that of blogs and other social media? Social voyeurism? It’s not necessarily a way to stay in touch with people- if something is important enough to discuss with someone, wouldn’t we email them, or pick up the phone, or at least IM them directly?
Twitter may be a way to have that element of basic human contact that we lose in the virtual world – the kind of contact people in offices get – bumping into someone in the hall and asking them what they had for lunch, telling them you just came back from your kid’s swimming party, and such… This is more relevant for those who work in the virtual world of the internet because in some way – it replaces that office thing. I think a lot of people who work from home offices are on Twitter because of this. It allows you to virtually “bump into” anyone who is on Twitter that you choose to follow. That means you could bump into your best friend even if they don’t work in the same place… On the fip side – if you think some construction worker on a jobsite is going to be twittering from his cell phone – think again. But that same construction worker could easily go home and blog about his day.
So – will Twitter replace blogs? I don’t think it will – not by a long shot. I’m not even sure it has long-term legs – but you wouldn’t know it from the amount of people jumping on its bandwagon.
I posted exactly twice.