Saturday, June 02, 2007

Do You Twitter??

There is a phenominon spreading like wild-fire through the internets: Twitter.

Such a simple idea: tell your friends and the world what you are doing right now in 140 characters or less. And your friends can "hear" about on thier computer screens, their mobile phones or the IM screens.

Great, you think, Deb. But why?? What's the point?

--One of the points, I believe, is to stretch your communication skills. How entertaining can you be in a brief format? This is a great way (140 characters used) to practice honing your lines to their juicest parts.

Or: One twitpoint is to stretch your communication skills. How entertaining can you be in a brief format? You hone to your juiciests parts. (3 characters left).

Examples of great honed lines:

StephenColbert There's nothing wrong with stretching the Truth. We stretch taffy, and that just makes it more delicious.

chrisheuer Def: ADD = abundance of distractions and disruptions.

Can you write either of these concepts more succinctly and more entertainingly? I didn't think so.

--Another point of Twitter: sharing news in real time.

During the recent earthquake in Mexico City, while one person on the ground twittered about what was happening from his perspective, those removed from the excitement provided information such as USGS reports. It was news in real time for the world to see.

And last month when I walked the Bay to Breakers, I stopped about every half mile or so to update with my location and whatever things were happening around me. People got to "know" to the race from the inside. If I had taken the time to immediately send my photos to Flickr, they could have read and seen in nearly real time.

Now a number of news agencies such as NPRNews are using Twitter to broadcast their news feeds. And politicians are signing on so interns can Twitter thier daily calendars.

An aid for the sleepless: Because every single post is published on a public page, you can while away time reading what's going on around the world. (here is where it would help to be poly-lingual.) Can't sleep? See what's happening on the other side of the world.

There are interesting applications being added to Twitter all the time: You can twitter from inside FaceBook, or check the public timeline on a Twitter world map (it moves you around the world as each twitter comes in). Twitter from your browser while on a different website. (a moment to refresh your mind while working on a difficult edit? Priceless.)

OK.. so there is stuff happening there.. why would it interest me??
Maybe it wouldn't.

However, if you have social contacts (family, friends, associates) and you all (or most) decide to sign on, you have the chance to know quickly about something from someone. Imagine just one 140 character post to tell everyone you know that you're a grandmother! Or that you were just in a car accident and will be heading to ER for some stitches, but you're OK.

Imagine being at a HUGE show or conference, finding the perfect something.. and wanting to share it with all your friends attending the show. Right. Now. If you all had twitter accounts and activated your phones, one message could tell them all where to come. Or where to meet for lunch. Or where the best freebie is being handed out.

No phone tag.

This is an application in it's earliest iterations. Yet the ways people will choose to use it in the future are limitless.

A brilliant example: You know when you're at college and you want to most efficiently time your access to the dorm laundry? (yeah.. when you're not shipping the laundry home to Mom??...).
Someone has put their dorm's laundryroom on Twitter with the explanation:

Each half-hour or so, the laundryroom lets the world know how many machines are available.

Granted, this can't help me, but if someone decided to start Twittering the average commute times on the freeway (the ones that are posted on the freeway signs), I'll be checking that out. (Can you here me, CalTrans??) Remember.. I can get these updates on my phone to know how to plan my travels.

Think about the possibilities for a minute.. and wonder what should you be Twittering?

I am (ofcourse) darinhercules on Twitter...