OMG, I Saw Robert Scoble in Line at Starbucks, Twittermania Sweeps the Blogosphere

The Many, Many, Friends of Robert Scoble

Want to see a visual representation of what Robert Scoble’s friends on Twitter look like? Just click through on the photo above. As they say in the photo sharing space, best viewed large. I did a similar version of the above graphic of my own friends on Twitter here, but with over 1,000 friends, Robert’s looks cooler. If you are on Flickr feel free to put a note on the avatar that is you 🙂

I’ve blogged about Twitter before but it’s really taken off in the past few weeks — culminating in what’s best described as a Twitter lovefest going on at South by Southwest (that’s SXSW in Twitter lingo, have to preserve those precious few characters allowed) this week.

Twitter was the top story on Techmeme earlier this morning. The lead post was from Karoli over at Drumsnwhistles who wrote a nice post saying that she didn’t really get the significance of Twitter and then an update saying that she’s joining.

Jeremey Toeman isn’t a fan either and leaves the first message on Karoli’s blog:

“couldn’t agree with you more! To me it’s just something that has got some SHORT-term popularity and will eventually fade back into a “neat tool” people don’t really use anymore.

The reality check is this: life is, for the most part, is dull. I just don’t need to see updates like “sipping a coffee” or “waiting in line to buy a coffee” or “thinking about going to the Starbucks”…”

Meanwhile, Dan McWeeney and Ed Herrmann have built a tool called “prom queen” that easily allows you to turn all of your followers on Twitter into friends. They have a section on their site under the “Who’s the prom queen” headline and Scoble is number one right now.

Personally I think Twitter is brilliant but I understand that not everyone gets it just yet. I invited a friend of mine to Twitter on Friday and I got back a single question. Why?

Which is a fair question and for which I think there are a couple of good answers.

First Twitter, as a social network, is another extension of your online presence. As a blogger if you think of your primary online presence as your blog, much of what you can do on the internet can be amplified through the various social tools available to bloggers. Digg, Slashdot, knowing when to pitch a story to top sites like Boing Boing or Lifehacker or Engadget, Flickr, book marking sites, and sites like Twitter represent ways where you can amplify and expand your ideas, thoughts and messages to your friends, contacts and the world.

Second, Twitter is just fun. With a 140 character limit it’s super easy and appeals to the natural exhibitionism and voyeurism that seems to accompany the world of bloggers. No surprise that Twitter was created by Evan Williams who invented one of the first successful blogging platforms, Blogger.

Third, Twitter is a great way to keep up with what your friends are doing in the real world and gives you a frame of reference for these contacts when you eventually see them in person. Unfortunately as busy as we all are these days keeping up with all your friends blogs is hard. It requires a tremendous amount of committment. RSS tools and the like can help, but personally I don’t always get around to reading every blog in my RSS reader (I wish I could, but sometimes I have to go outside and take photographs).

Twitter, by contrast, is a more concise aggregator of what your friends are up to. Next time I see Robert Scoble or Scott Beale or Chris Pirillo in person, I’ll know a little bit more about what’s been going on in their life. (By the way Scott Beale has shots of Twitter winning the SXSW Web Award here). Twitter is a quick convenient way to “catch up,” albeit in a totally unpersonalized manner, but these bite sized chunks allow you to more easily monitor what more of your friends are up to. And even though much of what on Twitter is the inane (what I had for lunch today, where I’m going to breakfast, what moving I just got out of, etc.), oftentimes it is the inane that serve as conversation pieces that make our off line relationships and friendships enjoyable.

Oh, and oh yeah, if you want to add me as a friend on Twitter you can do that here.

Oh, and Sean Alexander, I hope you get over that nasty cold soon 🙂

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3 Comments

  1. julie says:

    We ‘uns down here in Texas have abbreviated it as SXSW for a long time. I was in Austin last weekend. Not at SXSW unfortunately, but I did head downtown for some good Irish grub and shooting neon signs. Gotta get those pics up on Zooomr tonight…

  2. Twitter is “Brilliant”? Really?? Some thoughts on your thoughts:

    “First Twitter, as a social network, is another extension of your online presence” – yeah, I have a blog, why do I need another extension? Isn’t that THE POINT of a blog? Isn’t my blog really the extension of MY presence online, how far must I extend it?

    “Second, Twitter is just fun.” – okay, I have no problem there – nothing wrong with having fun.

    “Third, Twitter is a great way to keep up with what your friends are doing in the real world and gives you a frame of reference for these contacts when you eventually see them in person” – actually, my friends and I talk or IM when I have interesting things going on in my life or theirs. You know what’s neat about that? I get to actually interact with them, and hear details, not “skim” the stories of their lives.

    The thing is this – I don’t really dislike Twitter the way you think I do, I get that it’s fun, I get that it’s a neat way to give micro-updates of our mostly mundane lives. What gets me going is the ridiculous amount of attention everyone is giving it. If people were just plain using it and enjoying that experience, I don’t think I’d be commenting all over the place. But it seems to get so much attention with such HUGE REVOLUTIONARY HEADLINES that it’s downright annoying.

    I also get that there are plenty of corporate uses, and there are plenty of scenarios where a service like Twitter is a perfect fit. I don’t think it’s this “lifeblogging” that people are using it for. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’d rather get a bit more of a personal touch when my friends want to share their lives with me. I don’t need to feed at the trough along with a thousand other people in order to ‘stay connected’ with someone.

    But that’s just me.

  3. Heidi says:

    Just FYI, totally could have used you on my side at Toeman’s last geek dinner, hahahaha

    But it is a little disturbing that “Twitter is just fun” seems to be the main argument in favor of the service. Then again, “just fun” worked out pretty well for Disneyland.