Lens
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Twitter

June 16th 2007 in Tech

I had registered for twitter way back in December. For the unknown, it constantly asks you to answer one simple question “what are you doing” either at the site or from IM. It allows you to follow/subscribe to see what your friends are doing. Thats all, no big deal. In short it is like the status message shown on gtalk. Or say orkut self scraps + friends scraps at one place.

But after hanging around a little (2 minutes), I had no idea why it would make sense or how it was supposed to work or any clue why one would use it. I have my blog for my updates and twitter was like self-scrapping in orkut 1 . And then there is always orkut itself. And I did not want to give one more url related to me to others when the subscribers on this blog itself is 31 2 — hey thats a good news by the way. Hello every thirtyone !!

Distractions, I say! Back to topic.

But twitter saw a huge increase in numbers during SxSw , later they had scaling problems, analysis of increase in numbers showed it increasing at a rate higher than blogs. And now it or its cousins have become a hit. See this site to visually see the updates to twitter acorss the globe – TwitterVision 4. There is one with a photo messaging. . And digg+twitter = truemors.

Kept hearing a lot about it but I kept ignoring it but finally, recently understood one key factor which I think makes it work (more than any other reason) : its sms alerts in US – to send or recieve twits – which will instantly deliver the updates to “what are you doing” to those who follow you. Suddenly it makes sense to me5 :). Call it mobile-blogging or mundane updates or whatever, its success is quite huge !

In India, alternatives are present like Webaroo [via] but none are offering free sms :( I know thats too much to ask for but I somehow feel, if such a service comes up 6, it would be a hit like orkut, among my peers – some of who are lazy to read/write blog.

Here is my twitter page, twitter feed. You might have observed the pretty thingy on the sidebar too. Once I upgrade the WP, using Twitter tools plugin I will think of integrating in some other way.

Lots of support sites to twitter have born of which – email to twitter and firefox plugin twitbin are my favorites. Other firefox twitter tools.

I guess none of you are on twitter, add me as friend when you join :) To help you start with, here is starter guide. Huge resource list/help here. Thats it for those with short attention span. Rest can continue reading.

I don’t think in recent times anything has generated as much discussion as the twitter – especially the opinions being diagonally opposite to each other- one swearing this has been the most stupidest and other saying this was being waited for. One saying most unproductive, time wasting-distracting tool to another explaining how it could be put to use

Twitter can be distracting, but it can be useful. It’s up to you.

to explaining how you could be industry expert to how smart men use it.
One swearing its death is around the corner (208 comments) and its just hyped up and other claiming this will long last -(or that twitter to this decade is what email/sms/blog was for previous decade). There will be either an article or an application (either useful or just for fun or “most bizzare app for twitter”) every week or other. ( Even those that I have not linked to are on web, too lazy to search and link)

What I personally think is that – its a damn good integration of various features and it is different for each one depending on how you want to use them. Its like digg for some, its like blogging for some, its just social networking with its connectivity being instant – sms/im. Or for some it could be a combination of all these.

Social networking like orkut, for me now is huge time wasting – unless you are using it while in office! – in the sense that there is no value gain, but among my friends attitude like mine is rare. Even generally, orkut has not died! Today you might understand orkut but I remember when it came about, most of my friends did not join for almost an year – there was “whats orkut?” from everyone (or probably it was totally due to different reason). But today everyone gets the idea with orkut. There is no reason twitter can be any different. In fact it could be more catchy since there are different ways to use it, you need not always log in, the plugins will still operate from office even in twitter is blocked, sms/im interface will let you be in touch even when not using office internet.

Coming to blogging, again, I know lot of people who are lazy to read blogs. For them since all their friends updates is available at one place, it helps. Those of you who are too lazy to have a blog or those of you who are clueless what to update on the blog, this still will work for you.
from here

1. Twitter is easier to use than Blogger was and had a lower barrier to entry.
2. Twitter has more ways to update (web, phone, IM, Twitterific) than did Blogger.
3. Blogger’s growth was limited by a lack of funding.
4. Twitter had a larger pool of potential users to draw on.
5. Twitter has a built-in social aspect that Blogger did not.
6. Twitter’s 140-character limit encourages more messages.
7. More people are using Twitter for conversations than was the case with Blogger.

https://s3.amazonaws.com:443/slideshare/ssplayer.swf?id=58418&doc=twitter-the-useless-son-of-web-20-13859

Here are links to twitter tips and tricks , twitter-blog integration tools.
And here is a description to micro blogging and twitter

Media companies such as the BBC , The New York Times and Al Jazeera are trying out Twitter as a way to send headlines and links to stories. The campaigns for presidential candidates John Edwards and Barack Obama also have Twitter profiles, with thousands of “friends” and “followers” who check out updates.

On a post that says how twitter is a hot cake to be bought over now, Scoble points to the immense advertising oppurtunity

You’re missing the even bigger opportunity for marketers: people are telling us WHAT THEY USE and WHAT THEY LIKE. If you can listen and learn to engage people on Twitter you’ll find a marketing goldmine here. If I were really smart, I’d hire a team to categorize each Twitterer 24-hours-a-day. I’d start building a database of behaviors shared. Someone say “changing the diapers.” Well, now we know they have a newborn at home. What could marketers do with THAT? TONS!

Those who are still reading, here is some more info. One of the people behind twitter is the same who created blogger.

Ev jumpstarted the blogging revolution and tried to do the same with podcasting until Apple jumped into the ring and squashed all the competition. Twitter is his well deserved second home run.

From

There are several cousins of twitter on the same model like dodgeball,(acquired by Google), groovr but a little more famous is jaiku which came a little late than twitter but it includes lot of other things including an important difference – allows feeding to be imported on mainstream. 7
Jaiku is like blog posts+Twitter stream+Flickr photos (hey, thats what my yahoo pipe is also!) . Here are differenceexplaining links.

Jaiku is more of who you are than what are you doing which is twitter..[..]Where Twitter has evolved into almost a chat room, Jaiku has evolved into a Lifestream.What’s the difference? Well what you chat about and ‘do’ is only part of the picture. There are also photos, bookmarks, blog posts, music selections and more – each of which are not found on your Twitter stream. In fact I have seen many argue that they should NEVER be found in Twitter. Twitter is for human updates about human things.

Blogging is like putting up stalls in an exhibition and speaking the mind blindfolded. Some people enter the room, listen to you and/or converse with you. Chatting is exactly like chatting over a cup of coffee. Orkut scrapping is like, peeking into neighbour’s house to see if he is there and to talk to him, if he isn’t there to leave a note. Emailing is posting a mail to someone. Twitter is somewhat a combination of some of these in the sense it allows multi way communication cum broadcasting plus more.8


My final take:
As with any social communication tool, this tends to be addictive, time wasting, interfering, distracting but again as with other services, its quite fun, could be put to use, great way to keep in touch, neat microblogging utility, an unbelievable good combination or orkut+sms+blog+digg, and if you follow me on twitter, I shall follow you :)
Right now I am twittering in vaccum, come join and hear me :)
And this is my jaiku lifestream.

Ps: Ah!, this is the length of posts that would do justice to Talkr ! But you can’t follow the links then. Lots of useful links there, let me know how many you clicked.

Footnotes:
[1] I always wondered why did they not plugin the blogs within orkut – either create a new one or to link to the existing blogpost, rest of the footnote grew enough to be a post!
[2] according to Feedburner 3 – which again I had an account long ago but never used it until Google announced to buy it over. Feedburner, I guess that time did not provide email alerts or something, due to which I used Feedster -which gave lot of options. Now feedburner lets me connect feedster for email alerts and after google buying it I thought I can remember one less uname/pwd and logged in now. Now this blog’s feed is redirected to Feedburner feed (via the plugin) and fed to you!! So there, all for you, my dear 31 readers :) . Now click that ad there or at least leave a comment for my this selfless act!
[3] I know there is some noise there, I should not have tried various feed services with my own feed. Now there is no way to delete it.
[4]Have you seen FlickrVision?
[5]also, as you know I am a huge fan of sms
[6] Inactiv in Karnataka gave such a service but one thing lacking is a web user interface
[7]there is twitku which integrates to look up to updates from both accounts.
[8]Who would have thought The Trueman Show could get real and practical ?
My Jaiku presence


2 comments to...
“Twitter”
Avatar
pratyush

Hi,

I am a PM at Webaroo. To clarify – ALL SMSes sent through Gupshup are free. The only SMS you are charged for is the one you send (and that by your service provider).

We also expose an IM interface (in alpha now) which makes sending SMSes easier and for free.

Very soon we are coming up with a new web site which would allow you to communicate for free. I personally believe it would have many more features than the present alternatives.

In terms of numbers, we are seeing massive traction and are growing at a very fast rate – within a month of our official launch.


Avatar
Rk

Thanks Pratyush, will try it out.


I have now put talkr plugin which automatically converts my posts to audio so that one can listen to it. Again, not that I blog often or that I have posts to be listened or the audience, for all I care, it might be very sporadic as usual now that I have finished my old […]

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