Thursday, July 12, 2007

Twitter Old News Already?

So now I'm hearing about Pownce, a Twitter alternative. I think this was inevitable because I, the Twitter skeptic, set up a Twitter account last week. (Being a skeptic doesn't mean I don't want to have a look.) So obviously it's time for Twitter to be old news.

My take on Twitter...

I set it up with a handful of bloggers whom I read regular as friends (because I could find them). And I set it up to send tweets to my IM client. This, frankly, drove me nuts. I'd be in the middle of something and suddenly iChat would pop up with some bit of possibly interesting, but certainly non-critical, information.

So I then added the feed from the Twitter page to Google Reader - much better. I'd see the message (time delayed, of course) when I popped over to Reader to scan feeds in between other tasks.

I cannot imagine having this stuff coming to my phone, except in some very unusual situations; I think it would make me crazy.

So far, though, I was underwhelmed. The problem, of course, is that something like this is only interesting or useful if you have enough people you know also using it. Over the next few days I found more people I knew using it, and then I took a few minutes to scan their lists and saw some familiar faces - people I knew personally, or just by reputation - and added them.

I've got about ten "friends" now (some are friends, some I've never actually met) and that seemed to be a point where Twitter got more interesting and useful. We'll see how it goes moving forward.

What I do not see, so far, is some compelling, broad use for this. I can see it as a way for a business or organization to stay in touch with a very small group of heavily wired people, but in a world where there are still enormous numbers of people who view email as overwhelming and see no purpose for instant messaging I have trouble seeing large numbers of people using a service like this. But I can see that if the people you want to reach fall into the group that wants it, it could be a useful thing.

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