Shocking display of ignorance time (and lack of motivation to do research right now): What exactly is Twitter providing that would be of value to me? To just look at your page, or their home page, I get no sense of what it's actually for. Is it just about allowing people to stalk you? Because...no thanks.
I really just don't see the value in twitter... I mean it's more like a version of AIM or something right? You can leave status updates in Facebook and pull that feed (same thing as twitter) and I've got a whole lot more friends in Facebook. It just seems like an extra thing to keep up with and it's not like it's got value to bring outside people to visit a site like Digg or StumbleUpon.
I just think I have to side with Kyle. I know I live my life in the computer enough as it is. I don't think it's healthy to digitize every tiny microcosm within your life. In fact, I think Twitter is a perfect case in point of the "social web" becoming quite antithetical to true socialization. You spend more time worrying about packing your real life into the computer, to the point that you wonder how much real life is being wasted.
The only way it's really useful is if you are very active on it, and if you are very active on it, I'd almost be worried. It's begging for some kind of obsession disorder to develop. We've gotten manic about how immediately we can replicate our lives on the computer, and each new tool tries harder and harder. I don't think it's good for development of a thriving society. I know that probably makes me sound a little crazy as a web guy, but it's the communications major in me coming out.
I think I am morally and ethically obligated to boycott Twitter. I'm half kidding.
I had similar feelings about Twitter not being useful, a waste of time, I have Facebook, etc. Then I started using it and found value in it, after building a small network to keep up with. Now I log in to Facebook FAR less because I find that there is a more meaningful conversation on Twitter to be a part of.
I never understood Twitter until I tried it and started following a large group of like-minded, early adopters. The key for me has been the people I follow in Twitter. I was concerned it would turn into a forum for anyone and everyone to spit out every detail of their lives. This isn't the case. Instead, new ideas and breaking news are being shared with through Twitter. Each user has a personal branding goal, and in order to achieve that goal they provide something of value (in 140 characters or less) at a time.
For example, as I am typing this now, two member of the John Edwards campaign are discussing his intention to drop out of the presidential race. This isn't news on CNN yet (as of this writing). It's news and updates like this that make Twitter valuable, IMHO. The ability to stay on the bleeding edge, before the RSS feeds grab the details.
In HigherEd, I would be exaggerating to say we are constantly on the bleeding edge of innovation. However, we definitely find new ways to embrace the latest trends and technologies. Just as content is the king in web development, so it is in Twitter. Conversations on Twitter amongst Higher Ed developers has the potential to provide extra value in the form of networking, sharing and development.
It is very similar to the blogging trend in 2005, just on a more micro level. Technology and marketing are the major discussions now. Tomorrow it may be different, but as of now I have found value in Twitter.
I got interviewed for a big city newspaper the other day about my use of twitter and here are my answers. I dont want to post here since it is kind of long.
To summarize it is an invaluable tool to me. I follow 112 people at the moment. They break down to friends, colleagues and web heroes.
College and people that I have meet at conferences
Real world example: I met Brad and Seth that chimed in here about twitter at conferences this year. If I didnt follow them on twitter I would see them maybe once a year and never really keep in touch. With twitter I can follow what they are doing, be inspired and collaborate on things.
I follow some of the biggest web designers, people who I have read their books, sub to their blog. But I get their every thought more than I would get though their blog feed. I get what they read, what inspires them. This isn't name dropping but I will give you a few people I follow Zeldman, Tantek Çelik, Jeremy Keith, Robert Scoble, Matt Mullenwag, Jason Santa Maria. ETC
I have my Twitter feed auto-imported into my Tumblr, which is the perfect blogging platform for me because I like to share interesting links, photos, videos and quotes with my friends but do not have the time to have a "real" blog.
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