Everyone is talking about Twitter.
Some of us are using Twitter.
Does anyone know why?
OK I admit it - I signed up for Twitter and didn't really know why.... but I am slowly beginning to see the value of it.
Facebook and MySpace have experienced massive growth over the last few years and are widely known as effective "friend management" tools. To be frank, email has become a pain for a lot of personal and commercial users. The amount of spam received means that you can spend valuable time every day just sorting through and deleting emails that are trying to sell you watches, pills and poker.
If you elect to invest in an elaborate spam filter then the chances are you still continue to receive some spam. It's a bit like getting a flu jab - you still get flu but your arm doesn't.
On the other side of the coin the filter is "so good" you don't get legitimate email that was intended for you. I have personally received email from the person sitting in the office down the corridor marked as SPAM.
Facebook and MySpace eliminate this communication nightmare. The concept is simple. I invite you as a friend. You say yes. You get my messages. If we decide we don't want to be friends we don't get each others messages.
Facebook has presented great advertising opportunites. Facebook knows your age and habits (well some of them,so don't panic) so it knows what sort of adverts to throw up on the page you are looking at. This can be tedious.
Facebook is viewed by some as a little too revealing. I have people who have asked me to be friends on Facebook who blank me when I see them in the veg aisle in the Co-Op. If I let you be my friend you can, at your leisure, see every picture that I have posted of me on holiday, at a party, wedding reception - anywhere. I find this all a bit too much and a little disturbing.
If I came home and found someone in my living room that I vaguely knew who had spread out all of my photo albums on the floor and was poring over them I don't think I would find it acceptable if they said "...but I thought we were friends."
Twitter is a decluttered version of Facebook and MySpace without all the intrusive bits. The messages on Twitter or "tweets" are very short (160 characters including spaces) as they are designed to be received as SMS text messages.
You can follow someone on Twitter or be a follower. If you want to follow celebrities then it's easy to follow someone like Jimmy Carr and receive all their tweets. However, this does have commercial applications also. Using Twitter I can keep clients who choose to follow me up to date with changes in the marketplace.
I see my Twitter followers as my own mini "swarm" that I intend to grow. My followers will belong to other swarms and so these swarms will be exposed to my Tweets. This means I can potentially reach a huge marketplace of people who I have never rubbed shoulders with.
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