Twitter and the allure of 140 characters – is it easier than blogging?
I really like 140 characters – do you?
I joined twitter and started tweeting in July 2009 after watching a 1 hour demo of Google Wave – the Wave demo changed my perspective on communicating and I realised that real time, live collaboration was almost here. Until then, Twitter was the closest thing to real time communication I could find – I also really like the fact that in the demo they added twitter to a wave creating a twave and there was a heap of people in the audience tweeting about the wave demo.
Personally, I love twitter and 140 chars – forces me to be short, sharp and succinct with my messages. I also love the fact that it’s the same for everyone else. I can organise the people I follow into groups and scan tweets quickly.
The potential of 140 realised
My break through into 140 and appreciation of the value of this tool was when I attended the Online Retailer Conference in August this year where I spent a fair amount of time tweeting key points from each of the presentations – there were a couple of other people that did the same and both during and after the event several people said “thanks for your tweets, it was like I was attending the event.
I also really like the whole concept of ambient awareness (learn more by reading this article http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/magazine/07awareness-t.html or an even better article by Leisa Reichelt who originally coined the term “ambient intimacy” http://www.disambiguity.com/ambient-intimacy/ – thanks to Gavin Heaton for pointing this out). I know what my closest colleagues have been up to over the weekend and I now start conversations with people I follow half way through a topic, I can also meet up with someone I haven’t seen for a couple of weeks and launch into a conversation about what they did last weekend – this is really great stuff.
The short detour
To take a slight detour, I’ve realised, I’m one of those people that gains the most insight by actually experiencing things.
The tweeted question
Tonight I threw out a random thought ( given I’d had some trouble updating this blog but love twitter )
@MerricReese: Why is it that Microblogging (tweeting) is soooo much easier than blogging – you would think it would be easier to write more than 140 chars
@servantofchaos Rule #46 – ease of use drives uptake and consumption
First off – this response was received in less than 5 minutes (awesome & a great attribute of twitter), secondly, I’ve had the capacity to send 1400 characters today and Seth’s blog today was only 1478 characters – I think I could do a lot better with my 10 messages of 140 chars.
Signal to noise ratio
Overall, I sent 10 short messages that were easy to compose because they only needed 140 chars (or less) of thought at a time. Seth’s blog – awesome as always – had a better signal to noise ratio than my 10 messages but may have taken longer to compose. There is absolutely no way that I could even start to compare my 10 messages to Seth’s blog (other than character count) but @servantofchaos gave me the insight to realise why I may lean more towards twitter than blogging.
Ease of use, uptake and consumption
Bottom line – twitter is great because I can send 10 short bursts of 140 characters to increase the ambient awareness of my followers with minimal thought, but to pass on a more robust message you may need more.
Hence this blog… I couldn’t have conveyed the intent of this post in less than 140 chars.
The closing question
Twitter or blogs, which do you prefer and why?
By Merric Reese
October 15, 2009