Twitter as a Social IM
What is twitter, social im, web 2.0 irc channel? In their own words “Twitter is a community of friends and strangers from around the world sending updates about moments in their lives.” The site basically allows you to follow any person and their updates (which range from the mundane ‘walking the dog’ to the more interesting “with all the life streaming going on, I’m wondering if anyone is going to create content anymore or just copy it all”). The interesting thing is that all posts are visible to everyone else who is following you. This means that you can direct a conversation to a wide following of people.
The more I think about the more the way I describe Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, etc, is these are services that are a social IM. You can talk and micro-blog in a social manner. The recent Gnomedex Conference had people talking about the presentations on the stage rather than through IM and limiting their conversation to just one person, through Twitter (called twittering) and discussing it with everyone at the conference and even those not at the conference.
It would however not be right to call Twitter and is like minded services a Web 2.0 IRC Channel, for one important reason, you know the people who are following you and who you are following. Now I don’t mean that in sense that you know them in person, the majority of people that I am following on Twitter I don’t know in person, but I know who they are. I choose who I will listen to, who I will ignore, who I wish to include in my conversation. This is a powerful feature that distinguishes twitter from most open IRC channels in that anyone can join and participate in the conversation without any say from anyone else.
The next thing is that twitter has a 140 character limit, forcing people to limit the amount that they say. Also twitter has a wonderful API that allows developers to build off of it and create some cool new things. This adds momentum for those people who are most interested in using new tools want to be able to play with and build onto it.
Twitter is best summed as a Social IM here in defined as – an instant messaging platform that is open and allows the sending and receiving of messages to a community of people that choose to receive those messages. I can’t find another definition of this elsewhere, and this is still a rough definition if someone has a better idea of one leave a comment. Also tell me what you think of social im’ing. I’ll do a follow up of if it will gain traction outside of the small group of first adopters.
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