You’ve obviously noticed the silence on this blog, as well as most of my other blogs, over the last few days. It was all caused by Twitter. I am totally addicted, and I can’t help it. I am briefly back, since the service is down (probably due to all the hype around it).
If you are trying to get an idea of how badly I’m tied to it, here is a metric for you. Over the last four days or so I had at most two updates over all of my blogs. My Twitter stream, on the other hand, saw me posting more than 150 times! If that doesn’t describe my addiction, I don’t know what does.
Some of you are probably still asking the question “What is Twitter?”. I won’t go into it, as there are so many excellent places on the web that describe it back and forth, in any language you might prefer, and technical level that you can understand.
Here are my brief thoughts about Twitter:
- Twitter is very hard to get from the first look. You’ll have to use it for a day or so to get it. I don’t know why that is, but many people have confirmed that it is indeed so. I was no exception here.
- Once you give Twitter that introduction time, it’s very addictive. Even if nobody from your friends is using it. It’s very hard to get off. And I am not even often addicted to web services. Twitter is harder than Flickr and Google Reader combined.
- Twitter has many uses (and users). It’s micro-blogging (blog posts with maximum length of 140 characters). It’s a chat system. It’s a social network. It’s a TODO list. It’s an application for note taking. It’s time tracking application. It’s train of though logging application. It’s monitoring and notification application. It’s a quick answer for a simple question search application. Those are just a few. There are many ways to utilize short, instant messaging that works across web, IM, RSS, and SMS.
- Twitter is very social. It helps to bring people closer together. Even more than IM and blogging do.
- Twitter brings people to the same level. Take blogging for example. Sometimes it’s impossible to say how much time the person spent on thinking, writing, editing and formatting the post. How much time was spent on the research. Thus, some people who write in trivial language might appear smarter – long hours of work might look like something coming out of the top of person’s head. It’s intimidating sometimes. With Twitter – all you have is 140 characters and no formatting and no pictures. Nobody spends more than 15 seconds writing it. Or thinking about it. That gives a better perspective of the person’s brain activities.
For me personally, the short message limit is a bonus. My thoughts are short and often. But I don’t feel comfortable writing blog posts which are very short. I feel like I have to explain myself better and all that. With Twitter – I have an excuse not to. There is a message length limit and everyone knows about it. I can just spit out my thoughts and feelings. 140 characters is more than enough for that.
The only disappointing thing about Twitter so far is it’s speed and stability. I don’t know if that is caused by the implementation, or by all the hype it gets in the blogosphere lately, or by a combination of these two, or by something else. The IM service is constantly down, slow, or broken. The web site is inaccessible at times. RSS feeds miss items. But even with all that, it’s still a great place to hang out.
Join and take a look around.