Why I’m hooked on Twitter
February 23rd, 2008

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

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Comments
1 - Pat

You hit the nail on the head! In fact, when people ask me the same question, I’m just going to refer them to this because I couldn’t have said it better! Thank you!

[...] nice to see more and more people ‘getting’ Twitter. If only I could convince my own [...]

[...] includest this from SmartMobs: In more than 140 characters, Howard Rheingold at SmartMobs jots down why he’s completely hooked on Twitter, today’s freelancer’s water cooler. This week’s Carnival at taptology sets our sights [...]

Taptu loves Twitter…

If you’re new to the Taptu blog, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed or by email through the box in the sidebar. Thanks for visiting!Twitter is, at its core, an amazingly simple tool. We really like simplicity and were drawn to it quite some ti…

5 - 5tein

These were used by Phil Windley in a campus keynote today to introduce Twitter and why it’s popular. Your blog post helped the audience understand the usefulness of Twitter. Nice!

The essential problem with something like Twitter is time invested versus what you get from it. Supernetworkers and those of us who live in the online world love services like Twitter.

Most people can’t spend time microblogging, or doing any social media, without wasting a lot of time.

At the same time, if your social group is online and you’re not, then your competitors are learning things you are not. I think that’s the basis of Twitter.

7 - Daryl Tay

Great reasons. I’m a recent fan of Twitter and I have to admit I’m having problems getting friends of mine (who are undergrads) to get on it as well. Reason being they already have Facebook and IM to get their communications done. But they don’t realise that Twitter really opens up a whole new world online! Especially with respect to the reciprocity point.

8 - Suffian

Reckon Twitter might be especially popular with the ex-IRC crowd?

[...] because I had no idea what it was. (Judge me if you will) And now, thanks to Wikipedia and some other articles, I know what it is… a little bit. Maybe everyone else in the world knew about this service, [...]

10 - Kerry Cobb

This is my first time on Twitter and I just happened to jump to your comment. I went to a conference this past weekend and everyone was talking about Twitter. I had never heard of it but found the whole idea fascinating. However, I find the whole thing overwelming now that I’m on the site. How did you get started?

11 - ghaider

very useful info

Thanks!

12 - Jackie

Twitter has brought me six new customers in one week! Twitter is the best Networking tool I have found available! I love Twitter!

13 - Argue this!

You can also use it to learn about public issues:

http://www.twitter.com/The_Pub_Debates

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