Apr 16 2010

The Thing About Twitter

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Pursuant to my post from the other day, there’s an important difference between Twitter and blogging that isn’t immediately apparent until you’ve been at it a little bit. Blogs are like lectures with q&a afterwards … you tack up a message and it may or may not generate discussion.

Twitter, on the other hand, is like a cocktail party, where you get to choose who the other attendees are (and you get to invite as many celebrities as you want). Twitter is something you jump into, swim around in while you’re there, and jump back out again.

This is why the utilities that dump out your day’s worth of tweets to your journal fall flat on their face — there’s no context. It’s like listening to half of a phone conversation, and if you’ve ever been subjected to that, you know just how much fun it really is. (I grew up with it, and believe me, it’s slightly less fun than trying to sleep with a chirping cricket in the room.)

It’s also why, although I’m a pretty prolific twit, I don’t do the “Here are my collected tweets!” posts. I do have a small feed on my homepage as a teaser, and also to let people know my feed is there if they’re interested. But I don’t expect people to actually want to read through all of my previous tweets any more than I’d expect people to want to listen to MP3s of random sentences I say to people around me all day. Twitter’s a conversational medium, not a literary one.

-The Gneech

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