Saturday, January 2, 2010

NY Times Columnist: Twitter Is Here to Stay

Wondering why Twitter matters or why you should pay attention to it? Some excellent answers to those questions can be found in "Why Twitter Will Endure," by New York Times columnist David Carr.

Carr sums up the short and glorious history of the micro-blogging site, his own initial skepticism, and why it is succeeding -- exponentially.
"... Has Twitter turned my brain to mush? No, I’m in narrative on more things in a given moment than I ever thought possible, and instead of spending a half-hour surfing in search of illumination, I get a sense of the day’s news and how people are reacting to it in the time that it takes to wait for coffee at Starbucks."
I had Twitter running last night during the Rose Bowl (following various hashtags -- #rosebowl, #oregon, #goducks). It was fascinating to follow the flow of the game from the perspective of fans and media types worldwide, including many at the game. At times the number of tweets flowed faster than my computer could update them. Who needs TV anyway?

Why do I think I've become hooked on Twitter? Carr sums it up nicely:
On Twitter, anyone may follow anyone, but there is very little expectation of reciprocity. By carefully curating the people you follow, Twitter becomes an always-on data stream from really bright people in their respective fields, whose tweets are often full of links to incredibly vital, timely information. ... The best people on Twitter communicate with economy and precision, with each element — links, hash tags and comments — freighted with meaning. ...

Twitter is incredibly customizable, with little of the social expectations that go with Facebook. Depending on whom you follow, Twitter can reveal a nation riveted by the last episode of “Jersey Shore” or a short-form conclave of brilliance. There is plenty of nonsense —
#Tiger had quite a run — but there are rich threads on the day’s news and bravura solo performances from learned autodidacts. And the ethos of Twitter, which is based on self-defining groups, is far more well-mannered than many parts of the Web — more Toastmasters than mosh pit.
See also:
Steven Johnson: "How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live"
CommonCraft: "Twitter in Plain English"
Clay Shirky: "How Social Media Can Make History"
Oregonian: Portland Snowstorm Prompts Twitter Alerts

Photo credit: "Time Cover Story: How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live" by steve garfield, courtesy of Commons


Kent said...

I have been wrestling with Twitter for many months now. I try it, then drop it. Try again, drop again.

Each time I get that overwhelming feeling of "why would anyone want to do this?" However, I have met many folks who say exactly that about Blogs, Facebook, and Texting. And I have found a spot for each of those in my life.

After my most recent bout of trying twitter, I came to agree with this quote from the article: "By carefully curating the people you follow" I have found a similar thing with, I have to follow the right people if I want guidance towards videos I like. I have to manually do what Netflix does automatically for me with movies.

Come to think of it, a rating system for tweets and Facebook posts could enable a Twitter and Facebook to put the more interesting stuff up front somehow.

It is fun to see these things evolve.

Rob's Media Blog said...


Thanks for the lead on -- and where do we cash in on your Facebook/Twitter prioritizing idea! Now that would be useful!


Luke Ketter said...

Twitter and facebook are to creating intelligent conversations what US Weekly and People are to sound journalism. Both use good or at least interesting ideas on how to interact with other people and them slam them into a wall by making most of those interactions about completely asinine things. There is a natural evolution to these things and how it gets used dictates what people get out of it but the fact is there needs to be a better version. There is nothing to be shared on twitter that blogging or a webpage can't produce in about double the time (and when we're talking seconds its nbd). Tweeting is crucial for information but an embarrassment when it comes to communication.