When I first saw mention of Twitter, I really didn’t pay much attention to the service. My initial thought was here comes another time waster. Recently, I saw more mentions of Twitter and decided to check it out. After a brief period of use, I’m intrigued by the possibilities.
Twitter is a cross between IM, blogging, and SMS if that makes any sense. In what would seemingly appear useless spraying of what a person is doing at any moment in time, Twitter enables groups of people to keep up with that everyone is doing (or thinking as the case may be).
Filling a role not quite satisfied by blogs and chat, Twitter can act as a true lifeblog as Steve Rubel mentioned recently. Each post on Twitter is limited to 140 characters, just enough for a few brief thoughts. These are the kind of topics that you wouldn’t actually write to a blog. These simple missives would take way too much time to blog and are more personal in nature than most people write on a blog anyway. The service functions in much the same way as adding a status away message in your IM client. Just a brief note letting your friends know what you’re up to.
There may even be some potential business use here. I’m starting to see numerous companies and news sites distribute information via Twitter. I added CNN Breaking News to my Twitter list and I like how unobtrusive the messages come through. I can see a business offer service or product development updates via Twitter as another form of communication that doesn’t require any response or work from the recipient.
And this is probably the key aspect of Twitter – no action is necessary on the reader’s part. When using IM or email, the sender expects a response. With a service like Twitter, the sender is just posting updates on what’s happening in their life. It should be quite interesting to see if it moves beyond the early adopter crowd. Additionally, I can’t wait to see how Twitter holds up at SXSW starting this weekend!
I definitely recommend checking out Twitter to see how this works for yourself. If you sign up, feel free to add me as a friend. If you’re on a Mac, I also recommend using Twitterific as a nice persistent desktop client.
UPDATE: I just saw an interesting post on “why twitter matters” via a Rubel link post.