Aug 09

The Twitter plot thickens

This thing is just getting more and more interesting.

Reason 1: The denial-of-service attack that brought Twitter down, could have awoken a sleeping giant – the fact that Twitter is a single point of failure. If that service goes down, the fun stops…and the internet hates it when the fun stops. This Wired article covers some of the particulars, but this sounds similar to something I wrote a few months ago. Mark my words, this event will ultimately spawn the services that displace twitter. Competitors won’t compete directly with Twitter, they’ll just begin to wrap/mask it.

Reason 2: Tweens aren’t Tweeting. I had seen from some of our internal research that Twitter just wasn’t resonating with younger users, but now these reports corroborate that fact. For me this is interesting because (if this service becomes more than a fad) it will be the first service that a younger generation didn’t bring to an older generation. It’s another incident of technology moving in a bidirectional pattern, (which means our society is reaching some comfort/satuation point with technology, it’s no longer an emergent/youth thing). Clay Shirkey had another great example of bi-directional technology movement in his excellent TED talk (the first story, the one about elections.)

As an aside, here’s a great story of how the Twitter was born. Oddly enough, there was a team in pace to build a different piece of software that ultimately became less and less promising. They had to come up with a different idea mid-stream.

My colleague, Diego Rodriguez commented that Twitter works a little like MMPORGs like World of Warcraft. From a distance, it just looks wierd and socially strange. But if you get into it and try to understand all the underlying principles and interactions, it’s infinitely fascinating. (I’m paraphrasing what he said, but I think he’s dead on.)

Apr 09

Bigger than Twitter?

(Warning, heavy nerding ahead….)

So, I’ve been struggling with this Twitter thing for a while. It’s the first piece of technology to gain lots of users that just didn’t feel right to me. I get all the interactions, I get the viral part, I just couldn’t see anything substantive. It’s massively popular, but besides that I can’ see where it’s going (and, like Twitter, I decided to just ignore the “what’s the business model question”).

This post from Grant McCraken has been hanging out in my browser for a few weeks. He has a fascinating point comparing Twitter and the social conventions of puns. I’ll spare you from quoting the whole post (please read it), but this sentence has had me churning since I read it.

Maybe we groan at “twitter” because it represents a cultural confusion, a semantic overload, an immensity of messages too much for our frail cognitive capacity.

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