Before I joined Twitter, I never really noticed its significance on social networking. I sort of blocked it out like I did with Friendster or AsianAvenue – passing them off for another ‘internet phenomenon’ that would eventually disappear or at least fade into obscurity. But as time passed, I realized the popularity of Twitter was only growing stronger. I began to see it everywhere in the news, but didn’t fully understand how it worked. I thought, what’s the big deal?
After being a Twitterer (?) for a few months, I can finally make connections between what is mentioned in media and how it relates to me. The amount of interaction that Twitter opens up is immense, but it’s a different kind of interaction than, say, Facebook. It gives you the ability to speak your mind, provides a medium for you to deliver a message at once to people who want to hear what you have to say, and to some degree, tightens the gap between us and celebrities. The real-time blogging aspects forms connections in a different way than dated, retroactive methods. The flexibility of the Twitter API makes it easy to share across platforms and create interesting mashups. I can’t really describe the experience to someone else – you’d have to try it out for yourself, because everyone will use it in a slightly different way.
Not to say that everything is positive. The service begets the same privacy and social risks just like Facebook or MySpace. Also, it’s not as if my “tech routine” wasn’t tedious enough. I’d just be assigning myself another site to check everyday.
I think the New York Times said it best:
“Your identity on Twitter is more your ability to take an interesting conversational turn, throw an interesting bit of conversation out there. Your identity isn’t so much identified by the music you listen to and the quizzes you take,” as it is on Facebook, [said Andrea Forte]. She called Twitter “a comparatively adult kind of interaction.”
I’m certainly not a power user of Twitter, so I probably haven’t harnessed all that it has to offer. But now I do see the big deal, and have made peace with the fact that ‘tweet’ is becoming a part of my everyday vocabulary. I look forward to having more of my friends share this experience with me.
Tiny update: I stopped importing this blog feed to Facebook – my personal level of accessibility was a bit too high and that scares me…
Another update: THANKS JUSTIN for giving me another way to waste time bugging me to join Twitter.