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 🙂