Twitter is that social service everyone who isn’t talking about Facebook is talking about. It’s a form of nanoblogging wherein a single paragraph or a single link counts as publishable material. Sounds really really annoying and utterly useless you say? Yes and no. Lately I’ve found myself oddly attracted to the idea of delivering a continuous stream of useless bits of everyday life in the form of cleverly written one-liners. Now that I’ve been nominated for comment of the week (thanks Brendan), I might even stand a chance.
I’m not on Twitter. I’m actually on Pownce, but somehow that feels wrong, considering that Twitter was there first (and seems to work just dandily for those already engorged in smallchat). Also, while the effect is pretty much the same, I think I’d feel better twittering at people, than powncing them in the face. Well, that’s just a tiny bit unfair: I’m comparing two services I’ve never even used.
I’ve given serious thought to what the hell it is that so captivates twitterers. I’ve even subscribed to a few feeds to see what it’s all about: feels like stalking people—not that I would know how stalking feels like1. My most well educated guess is that it’s a sort of spotlight syndrome; the idea that a number of people are following your every move is flattering in a way, and I’ll bet it’s the same unknown allure that drives people to strip naked on reality TV shows. Clearly twittering is the more tasteful alternative.
It could be something else entirely. Twittering (and powncing, I’m told) is as easy as typing something into a desktop widget and hitting
enter. Somehow it also works as a “meta-comment”: not like any topical discussion, simply a single comment spoken to the air, intended for a single twitterer or simply in response to generic twitter elsewhere. Albeit a bit more disconnected than plain weblog comments, it somehow also feels more to-the-point. For instance, I find it very unlikely to encounter any First! comments on Twitter.
I lied, by the way, when I said I wasn’t on Twitter. I am. School me.