So much to say…
…and only 140 chars to say it in.
Yeah, this is about Twitter. That bursty communication medium I used to laugh at. It sounded pointless. I mean who is interested in your everyday vomitus chronicling the trip to the vending machine and how the neighbor’s dog peed on your car?
Turns out there’s a lot more than that. I climbed onto the tweeting bandwagon to close a perceived gap in Social Media coverage. I have a Facebook profile that I was very active on (thanks to friends, F1….and yes guilty as charged, Farmville), a LinkedIn profile that serves my professional needs very well, an Orkut profile I’ve kept active to keep up the illusion that I am in touch with certain people I’d rather not be in touch with, and even my neighbor’s dog knows enough to stay away from MySpace.
It wasn’t easy though. I mean the damn thing is a barren wasteland when you first sign up, because Twitter has no native apps and leave it to the geek in you to find them. Slowly it dawns that one can “follow” the detritus of other beings and take cues on what to say. Naturally, I immediately started following friends and people I knew. Kinda felt like staying away from celebrities and in the long run it’s been beneficial to my sanity. That’s because they feel the maximum pressure to stay connected to their fan base and consequently keep talking, thus driving down the signal-to-noise ratio.
After some observation I hesitantly took my first steps with the customary “Hello World”. I think it is at this point that a neat segmentation occurs among Twitter users: the fundamental reason why they use the service. Could be one of two things – to barter information, or simply to vent. A default outcome over time is that you become part of extended conversations, so no regular Tweeter is exempt from that interaction.
I like sharing information, but I’m also astounded at the quality of info available. It’s a pleasure lapping up all those tidbits every morning and somehow feeling more than up to speed on the world. Speaking of information, a set of tweeters I don’t follow are news sources like CNN, Times of India etc. (I unsubscribed from @huffingtonpost mostly because they’d tweet miserable rubbish like “20 Dumb Celeb Quotes”. The young, restless and jobless have E! News for that thank you very much). But back to my point, reading tweets from News Channels is no different from reading them on a feedburner or Google Reader. What makes information on Twitter so appealing is context. And this concept was introduced to me by @ericrumsey. I have to say I agree – your opinion or comment, which is the context around the story, makes it appealing for me to read it.
Then there is the frivolous. I am notorious pun-lover and regularly take a stab at generating my own funny and not-so-funny witticisms. Believe me, there are plenty of pun-dits like me out there and some are a cut above the rest, like @krishashok or @rameshsrivats. My wife absolutely abhors such wordplay and I’m surprised to learn there are many women out there who share her dislike of puns. I thought ‘vis comica’ was attractive to women, but clearly punning doesn’t fall in that realm. :)
So where does Twitter lie on the Social Media space? For me it has clearly usurped Facebook’s preeminent position in terms of frequency of usage. Facebook is now a ‘walled garden’ (a term coined by I heard from @shefaly), the insides of which are adorned with color and memories that aren’t as transient as musings on Twitter. Orkut is simply #FAIL – no garden, just an invisible wall to keep intrusive busybodies restricted to a less-damaging glimpse of your life.
I’m relatively new at tweeting so I have a lot more interesting people to discover, and in the course of that discovery I’ll hopefully become more interesting for others to follow me. However the one irony that never escapes me is that I am more garrulous on Twitter with its 140 char limit than in real life :)
I’d say I’m addicted.
I remember I was narrating an incident to my wife over dinner and said “I’ve gotta ReTweet this interesting thing I learned”. She understandably had a “WTF” expression on her face.
And so it goes.
PS – BTW, you can follow me over at daddy_san