On a message board, a student asked me why I said I was hooked on Twitter. I replied off the top of my head. Sometimes, that’s better than taking longer to compose something more elaborately thought out. My reasons:
Openness — anyone can join, and anyone can follow anyone else (unless they restrict access to friends who request access)
Immediacy — it’s a rolling present. You won’t get the sense of Twitter if you just check in once a week. You need to hang out for minutes and hours, every day, to get in the groove.
Variety — political or technical argument, gossip, technical info, news flashes, poetry, social arrangements, classrooms, repartee, scholarly references
Reciprocity — people give and ask freely for information they need (this doesn’t necessarily scale or last forever, but right now it’s possible to tune your list — and to contribute to it — to include a high degree of reciprocation)
A channel to multiple publics — I’m a communicator and have a following that I want to grow and feed. I can get the word out about a new book or vlog post in seconds — and each of the 1300 people who follow me might also feed my memes to their own networks. I used to just paint. Now I document my painting at each stage of the process, upload pix to flickr or flicks to blip.tv, then drop a tinyurl into Twitter. Who needs a gallery or a distributor?
Asymmetry — very interesting. Very few people follow exactly the same people who follow them.
A way to meet new people — it happens every day
A way to find people who share interests — I follow people I don’t know otherwise but who share an interest in educational technology, video, online activism.
A window on what is happening in multiple worlds, some of which I am familiar with, and others that are new to me