Twitter Thoughts

So, this twitter thing. Or maybe, I should say, this twitter category, in which I’ll lump Twitter, Pownce, FriendFeed, Facebook status updates, etc.

What to think of it?

First, an admission: I feel like I don’t yet know what I’m talking about, in the sense that I don’t feel the value proposition yet the way I do for other tech like IM, email, IRC, campfire, VoIP, etc. I’ve spent longer than I really enjoyed on Facebook, and I’ve had accounts on many of these systems for a long time, but I haven’t drunk the koolaid enough to “get it”.

Second, a question: What’s the right way to do the experiment? Is it twitterrific, twitterfox, friendfeed, something else? I’ve accepted the 29 “follow requests” that had accumulated and that I didn’t know about, and signed up to follow a bunch of people I know in various ways, and I’ll triage that list down as I expect the volume to be too high. Anyway, we’ll see how the experiment goes. My twitter account is the extremely unoriginal “davidascher”, btw.

I’m also “tracking” the terms Thunderbird and Shredder as well. The former is already proving interesting, the latter not so much =)

One idea Andrew had was to use it to share status among the extended Thunderbird team, inasmuch as IRC isn’t perfect (and, while it may sound shocking to some Mozilla folks, I don’t think IRC is perfect =). At the same time, some of the flaws I see in IRC (like the difficulty of identifying the important stuff among the random chatter, the difficulty in finding out what happened while you were not online, etc.) don’t seem any easier to solve with twitter (as compared to something like Campfire).

Third, an architectural note: The currently hotly debated Twitter scaling problems, as I understand them, seem unavoidable in a centralized architecture. Decentralized messaging systems seem to scale better. You gotta wonder..


  1. I use Twitter (for now; will switch back to Jaiku, only use FriendFeed, or try pownce next month as Twitter’s stability sucks) for a couple of things. One is to just vent to the world when I find something frustrating. Another is as an announcement service when something important has happened (e.g., new Python release, something big lands in the trunk, etc.). Third, is to share something interesting (although I use FriendFeed/Google Reader exclusively for that).

    What makes Twitter and FriendFeed neat is the conversation that can spring up around something. Also, like so many other socially networked site, it lets people you know act as a content filter on information on the web.


  2. You aren’t alone. I haven’t seen the value proposition in Twitter either. I love my friends dearly, but I have no desire to know what they are doing at every minute of the day.


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