OK, I commented at length on Steve Lawson’s lovely pro-Twitter blog so I thought I’d blog my comment here. I’m sure you’re familiar with Steve’s original blog
Great blog Steve – I’m finally getting round to commenting. Some lovely comments here; and I adored Greg’s – so personal.
It’s hard to find an objective view on Twitter partly because you either have hardly used it and so slag it off or you do use it (because it is useful to you personally) and so you’re going to be fairly positive about it.
Normally, someone writing about a subject with little experience of that subject would either try to give a balanced point of view or, if they wanted to back up their opinion, would do some research.
What Oliver James and the like could have done was interviewed a range of Twitter users and analysed their interactions using Twitter and the ways Twitter has been used by them. They have plainly failed to do that. They (the commentators dissing Twitter) have been engaging in bad science by making an assumption rather than doing research and making and testing hypotheses.
Me, I love Twitter. I’m a relative newb – I think I’ve been here for about a month. It took me a while to learn how to use Twitter more effectively and I’m still learning. I’ve learned that I don’t have to read anything but can dip in and out of the twitterstream as I see fit; that I should focus on @replies and conversations more than tweets about myself and that I can follow and unfollow according to my whim.
To see Twitter as celeb-stalking or narcissistic posting about oneself is to ignore the way Twitter is being used by a large number of creative and interesting people in very social and interactive ways.
Twitter is about a social group and about conversations and interactions. I, like most people, have a wide variety of interests: music, bass, theology, football, computers, design, theology, movies, languages, world-culture, cuisine, walking, eco-politics, leadership, education, roller-skating to name but a few – on Twitter I follow people who I have an interest in common with or people I know personally and find myself discussing and debating a far wider variety of things than I would normally and learning a wide range of new things too.
This week I had the major buzz of finding my mother was following me on Twitter – I can only begin to think how that might open up some cool possibilities.
In my month or so on Twitter, here are some of the ways I’ve benefited: made new friends; learned about new software that has made my life easier; discovered new music and musicians; had people listen to my music; learned new techniques for webdesign/blogging/design etc; shared musical advice; been given spiritual support; discussed and debated on a range of issues; attended local events which I’ve learned about; kept up with local news; attended live and streamed concerts; shared some great news stories; shared art and exhibitions; helped some artists to get together for collaboration . . .
OK, a lot of the above I could have done through email and other web applications – but very slowly and without the kind of quick-fire lateral connections Twitter allows you to make which, quite frankly, suit the way my brain works.
So Twitter is great – and if it didn’t exist someone would have to invent it. In the future it’s going to be massive and the naysayers will eat their hats; but even, if it doesn’t develop like that, I love it anyway.