Although it’s been described in many different ways, I like to explain Twitter as a hybrid of one-way Instant Messenging paired with blogging on a small-scale. A user can input info about what s/he is doing at virtually any moment (however inane) provided the user has access to an internet connection or mobile. This message is immediately published and can be accessed in a variety of ways.
The power of Twitter is not in the content itself which can prove to be rather boring (and obnoxious if you’re subscribing to many users via mobile). A typical message can be as simple as “eating noodles”, “sleeping”, or “at a loft party downtown”. The power of Twitter is found not granularly within each message but in it’s vast assortment – and convenience – of methods used for publishing and receiving messages.
Twitters, blogs, or IM’s – whatever you want to call them – are snippets of information kept in snack-sized bits by limiting the content to under 120 words. Messages can be made via mobile, IM, or by publishing from the Twitter website. The can be received via feed, text message, posting to a widget, by visiting the users Twitter webpage, and more.
By being able to know where your friends are and what they are doing at theoretically any moment, an intertwined social web is thus created. This web becomes an extension of one’s own personal network. Think of it as your assortment of myspace friends with the switch in the “on” position.
Just as Marshall Mcluhan describes the car as an extension of the foot and the wheel an extension of the hand, so is the social breadth of messenging – taking communication to a whole new level.
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