So I joined Twitter.
You can tell a new technology or medium will be revolutionary when everyone’s talking about it and no one agrees on what it means. Mainstream media outlets think Twitter is the next communication breakthrough, whereas the marketers on AdAge think microblogging is niche. I don’t recall anyone talking this way about Orkut. So while Twitter may not be the platform of the future, it’s at least an arrow pointing the way.
That said, most people make the same mistake with Twitter that they do with Facebook or their weblog. They think of Twitter as an easier way to share things with their friends. That’s not true. You have a very small number of genuine friends (maybe as few as 2, maybe as many as 20). You have a lot of Twitter followers.
When you fill your Facebook page with passive-aggressive complaints about coworkers or jealous acquaintances, you might think you’re sending a message to the right audience. Instead, you’re broadcasting a message to the entire world – a message that will remain until a massive electromagnetic pulse shorts out the digital planet – and hoping that the right audience listens.
Twitter and Facebook might be a way to make new friends. I’ve certainly used it for that. But “friends” have an existence off of social media. You go drinking with them. You stand behind them at their weddings. You lie to them about how good their hair looks. Those experiences, social media can not (yet) duplicate.
So what will I use Twitter for? To entertain people. Let me know how I do.