There is definitely something about Twitter that just sucks you in. The more I use it, the more I love it. Granted, my time with it is limited – I do not use it at work so most of what I do is over the iPhone or on weekends.
I’ve been really trying to figure out what it is about Twitter that is so attractive to me. I figure if I can figure this out, I will have it figured out for the world (I’m that egotistical). I was discussing it with Tom the Architect the other day, and as I was thinking about it actually think I said something that made sense:
Watching Twitter is like what I imagine a ‘precog’ from Minority Report would experience. A million voices from all over the world all talking about a moment.
This is the one thing about Twitter that has really drawn me in. Its not blogging – and its not a chat room – its something really different. It’s like listening to the echoes of a moment from millions of people all at once, all answering one question.
This is the way that I think about Twitter, but I’m really interested in what others think about it. What makes it so attractive to you?
twitter for me is a much quicker way to find out what’s going on and what matters. I’ve found that following a few key people I can keep up to date on things that are important to me.
The other thing which is a bit more voyeuristic is that it’s interesting to observe the minutia in some people (often strangers) lives. It’s an interesting view at people that you wouldn’t get from a blog or through chat.
This is a lame answer, but I think it’s the shortest: Twitter is great because it’s hanging out with people. People are (usually) fascinating things to watch, and Twitter is a much more efficient way of virtually hanging with them and watching them than blogs. “Efficient” here means it takes less time to follow them and less time for people to do their “Twitter work” (write Tweats from time-to-time).
In comparison, though blogs could give you the same effect, it takes more effort both as a consumer and publisher. Technologically, it doesn’t have to, but Twitter’s culture of use is all about it being fast, open, and human. Blogs have evolved more into zines at best, magazine at worse.
If you can get over your introverted self (should you have such a self, as I do and am constantly having to battle), simply talking with people is one of the most pleasurable experiences short of, you know, getting more intimate with them. Twitter to me does just that: it’s a medium to talk with people over, even it it’s weird, time-shifted way. It’s like Tivo for conversations in a more breezy way than IM.
Sure, there’s all sorts of problems and “could be betters” about Twitter. But, who cares? It’s what we have now and it works well.
The thing I can’t stand is people who get obsessed with the question “what’s the value in Twitter?! Why do people like it?” (which you avoid doing here). It’s just a boring conversation at this point, and, really, if you don’t like it, why should we try to connivence you otherwise?
Like I said, people are fascinating to no end, and Twitter is one place to go get your people-switch, both as a talker and listener.
There are two responses I like most that I’ve heard so far to this question. The first was from Cote, in a previous podcast that I do not have time to reference now, but I will later, and I am totally paraphrasing:
“Twitter is like a river. You look at it and see a point in time.”
The second is from a comment here, also from, coincedentally, Cote:
“It’s like Tivo for conversations in a more breezy way than IM.”
I really think the “river” / OMG look at whats happening right now thing is what I’m aiming for.
I see twitter as the real time distribution of the awareness of the future. Like Gibson wrote “The future has already happened. It’s just not evenly distributed.”
The thoughts and conversations I see on twitter are that for me.
Twitter will eventually lose that quality like any common space. People will use it for more directed purposes.
Mike Arrington talks about getting a lift from twittering a link to a post.
Then Jason Calacanis can start a company to use real people to create a sewage treatment plant to clean the twitter river Cote once loved.