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Yep – ten thousand tweets

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Yesterday afternoon I arrived at a milestone point, ten thousand tweets on twitter. That’s After less than a year of using the website. To me it’s replaced the university bar for two reasons. The first of these reasons is I’m now a graduate so there’s not much point in going to that bar anymore. The second reason is the organic way in which you create a network of contacts.

When you first arrive in twitter it’s a scary place. You see thousands of 140 character messages arriving every few minutes and it’s a time consuming to find the people that you find interesting. There’s the notion that you “follow” people. It’s used to describe the way in which you listen to what they have to say.

As you listen to this conversation you see that one person talks with another person and over a period of time as you follow the conversations so you get to see who the participants are. Over a period of days or weeks you’ve got several dozen people you’re following. That means that you’re now able to have many conversations a day. It’s just a question of how much time you’re willing to put.

In this respect it’s like university. There are two ways you can treat student life. You can be an Honours student with very few but good friends or you can be a high achieving student who’s created a network of hundreds of friends. I chose the latter option. I could go into university any day of the week and it would take an hour to walk from one side of the building to the other because of all the friendships I had established there.

It’s the same with twitter. The more time you put into twittr the more you get out of it. The fact that people like Robert Scoble, Chris Brogan and Chris Pirillo take the time to follow and listen to people on twitter tells you a lot about the types of conversations that are occuring.

The first two individuals take a huge amount of time to talk with people on twitter and it’s a really great tool to see what’s going on, in fact so great that I no longer feel the need to read as many RSS feeds or listen to as many podcasts, simply because I’m participating in the conversations before they become even blog news.

There is another aspect to twitter. When you’re on twitter you may be behind your computer, having never met any of these people in person and so it’s really strange to use twitter. It’s thanks to Sizemore organising the London twitter meetup a few months ago that I started to see Twitter in a very different light. It wasn’t just a website. It became a means by which  for me to create friendships online before bringing them into the real world. Jeff Pulver, Chris Brogan, Robert Scoble and many others do the same.

On the lighter side there’s the flirty side of Twitter. The social media make flirting fun. Quite a few times I’ve created nice friendships with girls and as a result had 2-3 hour conversations via IM, Video webcam and more. It’s a way of life for a new age in human interaction. A year ago I would meet people in person and when they moved to another country the friendship would go online. Now it’s the reverse and that’s what I enjoy so much. That’s why I don’t feel it’s an addiction. Does it sound like I’m an addict?

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  1. It’s exciting to see what you’re thinking about with regards to Twitter. I think that the more folks who dive in and talk thoughtfully about it, the better we’ll understand why we’re all INTO it.

  2. Richard, I think you made some really interesting points here about Twitter. I know I used it when it first started, and then really slowed down with it. I have started using it again a lot more because of 3 reasons–I have a BlackBerry and started using TwitterBerry, since it makes it easier to Tweet while on the run. Secondly, I find myself more open to sharing things in my day as my own public reflective practice (like autoethnographic and narrative studies). Thirdly, I recently switched my blog from MovableType to WordPress, and use Twitter Tools–this allows me to have my daily Twitter feeds get automatically added to my blog (so I do not lose my thoughts if Twitter decides it wants to become a walled garden).

    My biggest challenge is to figure a good way to skim the vast quantity of feeds (information overload) and get to the content (however I or you or anybody else defines it). As a student of media, you must face this as well!

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