The second of my two part Twitter feature inspired by comments I made on an article entitled Correct Twitter Usage on my good friend Spode’s Think About Tech website. Part I: ‘Twitter & The Land of Opportunity’ can be found here.
Let’s get this lazy comparison scrubbed from the very first line: I don’t believe Facebook and Twitter are even remotely connected.
The old line: “Twitter is mass Facebook status updates for your friends” I believe to be utter – well – shite. The difference is Facebook has a certain ‘distance’ to it. With it I feel I get to know something about the LIVES of my friends on it and also the school friends I haven’t seen in years, but vitally many – if not most – of my Facebook friends I have no desire to interact with. Facebook is largely voyeuristic.
By contrast, Twitter is INTERACTIVE. Sure, there are professional sites simply rehashing their RSS feeds but they are largely catastrophic failures when you consider their number of followers when proportional to their site’s web audience.
No, Twitter is not about saying “I polished my car today” it is about interaction. It is a great online IM brothel between your friends/respected colleagues or others and one which goes on whether you are there are not. With Twitter I genuinely feel I have BONDED with virtually all of those I follow, I have not just watched them from afar via a sterile ‘Today’ page. I would even go so far as to say Twitter has helped improve social relations with a number of friends because we no longer need to engage in fatuous small talk . We already KNOW what is going on with one another’s lives and have often commented on it via Twitter so when we meet up we already feel comfortable, can cut the “so how has your week been…” waffle and have far more meaningful conversations.
Personally speaking, I know many people have issues with Twitter but let me be blunt here. If you find the people you follow say things you find dull then DON’T follow them. Cruel as it may sound I have many good friends in real life whose Twitter feeds I do not enjoy. I had the stones to remove them and we get on as if Twitter never existed.
Likewise for those I do continue to follow I find I now feel genuinely closer to them. Their tweets delight, entertain and touch me about the goings on in their lives. One friend in particular who is living abroad I watch to see how his very ill son is coping. From his Twitter updates alone and my occasional real time responses to them I feel more useful than 50 Facebook wall messages, virtual app flowers, ‘pokes’, and picture posts ever could.
In essence then, perhaps what I am trying to say is that while Twitter can seemingly be written off by generalist and trite statements it is actually a hybrid creating a new form of communication. A merger of Facebook and IM, a grand forum or cyberspace town hall where you can share your daily/weekly/monthly highs and lows in a way representative of what drives you in this wonderful thing called the human condition.
Hardest of all however is to realise your own tweets paint an unrelenting self portrait, something which scares away many. Yet hopefully this close-up study of yourself and others also brings about realisation of where and how more can be made of your own life. After all, it will give you more interesting things to Tweet about…
Link: Twitter Gordon Kelly Profile (follow me and see just how exciting/dull my life is!)
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Time to chip in on what seems to be the hottest of hot topics recently: Twitter. It is the first of two features I’ll be publishing on web’s hottest topic. [Update: Part II: 'Can Tweets Change Your Life' Is Here]
Interestingly, this post was inspired by what began as a short comment on my great friend Spode’s excellent Think about Tech website and evolved into something altogether more substantial. Here’s a slightly revised version: Read more