Twitter: Communicate 140 Bits at a Time

I’ve been playing with Twitter a lot the past week or so. What is Twitter? I don’t know–ask Wikipedia. Twitter is kind of like mini-blogging because you’re limited to 140 characters, but the updates are also broadcast all over the place–RSS, Facebook, blogs, cell phones, IM, etc. You follow other people’s tweets (yes, it has its own lingo–that’s how you know it’s cool) and a flow develops. It’s just another interesting medium to play around with.

So what’s the point? I don’t know.

It feels very much like every other Internet fad that comes along where nobody gets it at first but a few people dive in and love it and then those who didn’t get it start to get it and then as it starts to get big the people who loved it don’t love it so much anymore and they find something new to dive into and the whole process continues. It’s the circle of life–or tech trends anyway.

I’ll tell you a few things I’ve learned about using Twitter:

  • By default Twitter gets the ball rolling by asking “What are you doing?” Taking that question literally is a good way to suck at Twitter. Just like blogging, nobody cares what you had for breakfast.
  • It’s a very disposable form of communication. It’s like candy. Little bite-size nuggets.
  • One way to approach it is to find something clever to say in those 140 characters–and that can be a challenge. You’ve got to be creative to say something interesting within that limitation.
  • It’s a fun way to learn interesting and useless things.
  • It’s a great distraction from real work.
  • It’s a lot more fun when you follow lots of people and they follow you. Don’t Twitter alone.

So far I’ve used Twitter to make clever comments and observations, ask questions (and people do respond) and I’ve even tried some Twitter Fiction (now there’s a challenge). My Tweets feed into my Facebook status (which vastly increases my readership), but I don’t mess with any of the cell phone stuff (I’m too cheap for that and when I’m away from the computer I try to be away from the computer).

I still don’t know what the point is, but I’m having some fun playing around with it.

One thought on “Twitter: Communicate 140 Bits at a Time”

  1. “I still don’t know what the point is, but I’m having some fun playing around with it.”

    That’s the point. Or, a point, at least.

    I love your use of the word “disposable” above. That really cuts to the heart of what’s important about Twitter. It’s an in-the-moment flow of information, like a weird stream springing from multiple sources. Pretty cool.

    And yes, a horrible distraction if I’m not careful. ;-)

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