johnmac's rants

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Justify Twitter?

A friend recently asked me to both explain and justify the value of "Twitter" --- and I really can’t; not because I don’t find it very useful (I do) but because it is both one of the most difficult tools to explain of all the social networking tools (which are all difficult to explain) and because the value is extremely subjective and grows only, in my judgment, through extensive use. Some points to consider:

1. As mentioned above, it is very difficult to convey “the flavor of Twitter” through words. There must be immersion to really try it out and appreciate the value (or lack thereof) for the individual.

2. Once involved, the use of tools to simplify the process of posting, to aggregate “tweets” for e-mail delivery, for GPS locations, searches, etc. are worth exploring.

3. The real value is in the interest that the user had in the postings of those she / he chooses to “follow”. One may be interesting to one person may be boring or trivial to another. I tend to follow writers, newsfolks, technologists, friends (and “friends of friends” and “friends of friends of friends”). You always drop people from your list and, once again, you do not have to follow folks who follow you (nor visa versa). I also tend to concentrate less on the social interaction contained within Twitter than on the information which I can glean from others.

In short, the only way to see its use is to use it.

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