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What Twitter is(n’t)…

an image of the Twitter logoI’ve been looking around Twitter, seeing who’s in there, who’s saying some interesting stuff.

If you’re a Twitter user, then you’ll see a question just above the spot where you type in your message, which says: “What are you doing?”

What I’ve seen a lot of sort of makes me wonder if people are keeping this question in mind.

I don’t particularly like activism. It’s a yawn at the best of times, mainly because the people behind it are usually far too ernest to be believable.

But that’s what I’ve seen on Twitter. Similarly, people not posting entries that are themed around what they’re actually doing.

Some are even political statements, which are also a yawn-fest.

To me, it’s simple: if you want to moan about stuff, do it in a ‘blog or a forum.

I’ve warmed to Twitter, and I know some will think that I’m being pedantic, but I think Twitter could end up being (wrongly) labeled as being some dire hole in the web where people post politically motivated nonsense.

Twitter as a starting pistol?

People will inevitably make use of stuff in new, unexpected ways. That’s the nature of people.

When I look at Twitter, I see something that’s being used for things other than notifying other people of what they’re doing.

But imagine people using Twitter for precisely the very reason it’s here? Imagine people using Twitter to signal the start of something, say, Flash Mobbing, for example?

OK, I was going to come over as the big scaremonger, but I’m not. I think Twitter has a promising future, and that’s the angle I’ll take here on in.

Be here, there, everywhere

I recently added my mobile / cell phone number to Twitter so I could post updates while out & about. So now I can post from anywhere.

Now imagine you’re planning something really social, the face-to-face, old-fashioned variety social gathering.

So you’re out somewhere, you spot the right venue, you’ve got your stuff, you’re ready to roll, now all you need is an audience.

You’ve got your Twitter account, you’ve got hundreds if not thousands of friends. You whip out your mobile phone, you tap out a text message and wait for the people to emerge from anywhere & everywhere and you’re off to flyin’ start!

Much like modern marketing is as much about off-line, ‘old fashioned’ strategies as it is for ‘newfangled’ on-line ones, the new social age is about combining the two in compelling, novel and unique ways that extend how people interact with each other.

And as the ‘Net becomes more pervasive, the ways & means by which we will interact and stay in touch will become less relevant than the act of being in touch itself, much like how talking is right now.

When looking back through the long, long list of mans’ greatest inventions, the telephone is bettered only by one other invention, and that’s the internet.

In the future, talk really will be cheap…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

3 replies on “What Twitter is(n’t)…”

It may evolve into something new vs. the “I am walking my dog”, “I am meeting my sister for lunch” stuff.

No flash mobbing for me though…

Oh, there’s already a ton of incidental stuff on Twitter already.

I try to avoid that, unless it’s a prelude to something more structured, say, being part of a running commentary on a topic I’m covering.

All of which is a driver for piquing people’s interest enough to get them to follow it up and visit my ‘blog.

Thanks for the comment!

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