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March 12, 2007


Nathan Gilliatt

Reminds me of the fellow with the obsessively detailed diary...

[Google moment]

Ah, here we are:

Robert Shields, World's Longest Diary

I heard this when it aired and was struck by the pointlessness of it when he read the entry that reads, "12:25 to 12:30: I discharged urine."

Some details were never meant to be read.

Gary Bernhardt

You can change your twitter status via text messages, which makes it slightly more useful in the event of a natural disaster (but I still agree that it's a huge stretch.)

Stephen Davies

"Please note that while I'm poking at Twitter here, I do see great potential for mining this data and providing summary, aggregate analytics over the statements in the twittersphere."


I wrote this yesterday:

norman zyland

Thank you for helping cross another time-wasting web site off my list. Only 999 more and I will get my life back

Steve Dembo

I've learned a ton about people I've known online for years through their Twitter. Through their blogs and IM, we only talk about what we know we have in common (education and Tech). Through Twitter, I've learned about their kids, their jobs, their TV show preferences and their lives. Informational, interesting and for lack of a better word... just plain fun :)

Definitely not important. But it helps keep me sane!


I was a bit unsure of what twitter could be used for to start with, until i realized that it's the perfect web replacement for those "/me"-commands on IRC. Back in the days when I used to hang out on IRC all day long, such commands gave me hints of what my friends were up to, and gave me explanations to why they, seemingly, didn't want to answer my chats ("/me is watching pr0n").

I've seen lots of youngsters use and change their display name on MSN for this purpose (".-^[aNGRy]^-."], but nowadays there's even a specific field in the MSN client (and many others) for this kind of status messages. Also, for example gives you the possibility to add RSS feeds to your profile, which makes it even more usable:

We will definitely see more of this kind of mash-ups in the future.. sites made up of feeds from different sources, combined into one.


You're awful eager to discount this application, and to assume that there are no practical applications.


Matthew Hurst


I'd like to address your question.

Firstly, it is important to separate out the notion of a successful application in the business sense and a practical application in the sense of contribution to our common good. For example, Wal-Mart is very successful, but I'm not a huge fan of its principles and policies; Britney Spears is successful, but I don't see her enduring like the Beatles did.

Secondly, when it comes to human nature and human behaviour, one can fill a huge need, or find a great opportunity in the current trend of fragmented life-styles, attention deficit cognitive expectations and so on, but that doesn't mean it is something I find of great human value.

The Disney corporation is currently developing micro content based on their major iconinc properties. These are short - very short- animated pieces that, they tell us, have a full story in them. They last for about 40 seconds and are aimed at gray bar time for tweens.

I recall Steve Rubel writing about how podcasts were so great because you could listen to something while waiting in the queue for the auto teller.

All of these things can be hugely successful and fill a need - or work off a human weakness and our escalating attention deficit. That doesn't mean that we have to like them simply because of their success.

Now, having said that, there have been some responses here and on other blogs that have outlined some interesting applications of this type of communication. The most salient to me has been the notion of twitter as a sort of asynchronous form of IM.

You ask 'why [are you so eager to discount twitter]?' This sounds like you believe my agenda is to hack at it. That is not the case. I am, however, a sketptic of this granularity of communication; in addition I am leary of the progressively smaller and smaller chunks of time that western society expects minds to concentrate for.

Time will tell, and it will be interesting to see if the evangelists, like Scoble, keep up their rate of communication in this channel.

Natalie Glance

Given your appraisal of Twitter, I think you'll really enjoy this post, which is perhaps even more anti-Twitter:

I think of Twitter as an easier way to share IM status messages (like your "on the beach with Wakako"). And, at the very least, a fascinating social experiment.



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