Twitter as a way of life

Twitter is not a social network, rather it’s a way of life. The more you use Twitter the further it gets into your way of life. It allows you to follow current affairs, geek out about social media and keep in touch with friends that uses the social network. What’s more it’s a network that does not require any specific device.

At first it’s a confusing place. Look at the public timeline and it’s a torrent of junk and sifting through it will take hours a day. As you spend more time on twitter though you find people of interest to follow. In some cases it’s friends from the physical world, in other cases friends from other websites on the web and then more.

In reality what makes twitter interesting, and part of what makes people use it is how efficient it is at getting a message across. You’ve got 140 characters to express yourself. In Paris I was told I speak in 140 characters or less. That’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s good. It’s about the continual flow of information.

Imagine you’re swimming down a river but everytime you move to stay afloat you have to close your eyes. That’s what article and blog reading is. As you focus on one task so your ability to focus on anything else dissapears. That’s fine in the old media where pages are static and where airwaves are limited.

In the modern world though it is necessary to absorb many sources of information at once. How many of you have your ipod, laptop and mobile phone with you at the time you’re reading this post? I’m sure most. How many of you have more podcasts than you can view or listen to? How many of you have more programs recorded on PVR than you can watch?

That’s why twitter is a lifestyle. It’s about constantly looking for information and building an understanding of current affairs through constantly taking in little bits of information. Stop talking about the social media on twitter, rather start talking about the good old fashioned time efficient soundbyte. Want to be heard. Don’t take people’s time. Encourage interest instead.

Many people are complaining about the decentralised conversation, the notion that blogs are no longer the center of attention, that twitter, friendfeed, facebook and others are killing the conversation. In fact quite the opposite is true. If you’re in New York you’ve got one set of people, if you’re in London you’ve got another. if you’re in Geneva you don’t have much… To have a decentralised conversation means that many ideas can be explored at once and as pillars of the online community meet at various events so the conversations can once more converge.

Don’t worry about comments on a blog, think about the conversations and the people you’re having them with. That’s where the fun is to be had.

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