I must confess that I was one of the people who "got" Twitter right away. The social networking aspect of it's followers and following capability combined with the transparency to others just made sense to me when a friend introduced me to it. I have already written about why Twitter is great on BadskiBlog before:
I have been using Twitter for a few months and since I have started I have run into so many people who are talking about it and then they ask the same question. They always ask "what is the point of Twitter? I don't get it." Then I jump in like a huge computer nerd and try to explain what I think its all about, and from there its almost a perfect split. People either get it and think its brilliant or they still think its stupid. I don't think Twitter is about tweeting (140 character micro blog posts). I think Twitter capitalizes and makes visual our natural tendency as humans to group with other like-minded people. However, Twitter enhances this by allowing people who have never and would never have met to become linked. By allowing you to see who someone is following and all the people who are following them you can see how the cliched six degrees of separation begins to manifest itself online through this amazing social networking vehicle.
Honestly I don't really think I truly understood the power of twitter until I got a new phone. I recently bought the new Google phone available on T-Mobile. The G3 or MyTouch is a pretty badass phone. It is Google's equivalent of the iPhone, except it is "open source." Or at least that is what a phone nerd told me. Which basically means that the majority of the applications are free to download. Good for me I guess. The phone has more capability that I have ever had in a phone and I have pretty much been a pseudo-phone nerd for the past two weeks. I downloaded Twitter's application called Twidgit Lite which basically updates you of unread tweets and allows you to quickly tweet on the go. I thought maybe I would tweet something here and there and that would be the extent of my usage, but honestly it is way more than that. Here are the few key advantages I see to having, and being an active Twitterer, on your phone:
1. Information Pull - You receive tweets only on people you follow. If you don't think they add value to your daily dose of information consumption you don't follow them. You are no longer being bombarded with unwanted or worse unwarranted information. I only pull what information I want. For the newbie to Twitter who only view this as a 140 character status update for tweens and emo kids I am sorry to say that you are mistaken. Most bloggers, news outlets, etc. post active links to their content or other people's content they deem important and/or relevant. So instead of browsing five articles or blog posts in an hour I can now 'pull' hundreds of micro blogs or tweets to me with links to the full paged content.
2. Information Filtering - Of the information that I pull, I am obviously not going to read it all. If I read everything I wouldn't be able to do anything else, like some phone zombie (my wife probably argues that this is the case at times). More information is available today than ever before in the history of the world. Tomorrow will likely be the same given the absence of a massive catastrophe. As time goes on and technology continues to shrink the work by expanding our interconnectivity as a species, information overload will become an increasing problem. Your ability to navigate what information is valuable to you will become more and more important. Twitter allows me to do that. Just because I follow someone on Twitter doesn't mean that I am going to like all the content they distribute. I am sure if you are reading this there are probably plenty of BadskiBlog posts that aren't your cup of tea (insert any metal post here!). Twitter allows me to quickly scan a short description of the full length content and decide in a split second whether or not it is worth my time. If you do this on your phone you can literally fill your down time throughout the day with some information mastication. Your tweet inventory is likely to always have some information you deem important for you. Great for those trying to live the Pareto principle (book review to come on 80/20 Principle).
3. Information Sourcing - Well won't I just get stuck in a tiny microcosm of the world reading the same people's opinions over and over. Short answer is no. The transparency of Twitter allows you to see others who are following the people you are following. If you want you can follow them and navigate through some of their content. Or for the lazy people out there you can merely sit back and wait for the people you are following to acknowledge someone in a tweet. By replying to someone's tweet you will start your tweet with @randoguysnamehere which will allow others to know who you are citing as well messaging the person you cited. Kind of confusing but when you see it in action you will know what I am talking about. This allows you to see who people you are following deem important enough or relevant enough to interact with. Pretty interesting stuff going on and an opportunity to weave your way through peoples soft connections and into some new information or content.
If you haven't gotten on Twitter I recommend it. You might get some information out of the deal or worst case you become a tween emo kid.