Monday, March 19, 2007

Twitter - Reality streams

In the past couple of weeks there has been a lot of buzz around Twitter:
"A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing?"

In Twitter the messages are limited to 140 characters and can be sent to everyone or to a restricted group of friends via phone, IM or the web. It is amazing to look at the landing page of Twitter and seeing all these messages flowing by of what random people are doing right now. Here is a random sample:
"Waaaahhhh... I want to go back to sleep, not go to work. Maybe the shower will help. less than 10 seconds"
"Just discovered Twitterholic (, have to twitter more if I want to get on the list :P !! less than 20 seconds ago"
"was thinking of saying Hello World but has changed his mind less than 20 seconds ago"

I cannot find a good reason to even set up an account at Twitter. The only possible interesting use would be to keep in touch with friends and family but I have IM for that. I can use this blog to publish what I am thinking without the 140 character limitation. For once I agree with Nick Carr's view of this community application, it sounds a little bit narcissistic. As usual he puts his points across in a provocative manner:
"The great paradox of "social networking" is that it uses narcissism as the glue for "community." Being online means being alone, and being in an online community means being alone together. (...) As I walk down the street with thin white cords hanging from my ears, as I look at the display of khakis in the window of the Gap, as I sit in a Starbucks sipping a chai served up by a barista, I can't quite bring myself to believe that I'm real. But if I send out to a theoretical audience of my peers 140 characters of text saying that I'm walking down the street, looking in a shop window, drinking tea, suddenly I become real."

It seams like every time there is a technology that enables a more immediate communication between people, we jump to it (ex letters,emails,sms,IM).