Twitter – the “what are you doing?” service – is far and away the new craze of today’s early adopter crowd. The idea behind Twitter is simple; send mass updates about “what you are doing” to the Twitter community via SMS, IM, or the web.
There are some powerful uses for Twitter. For example, imagine you want to let the entirety of your friends know what is up on a Friday night. Assuming they were all on Twitter, one text-message to Twitter does the job. Same would be true about announcing an engagement or whether you passed the big exam.
The default setting for Twitter is to make all of your “tweets” (i.e., the updates you send out) public. That means the tweets will show up on the homepage of the public timeline and also be available on your profile (here’s mine – as you can see, I haven’t really been too interested to this point). But you can also change that setting, so that only your “Friends” will receive the updates.
Twitter is not all good. It definitely plays into what I would describe as the “mindlessness of the present.” Just take a look at the types of updates you can read on the homepage (I removed the names associated with these tweets, to save the embarrassment of these members):
Yay, Im awake earlyer! Good stuff.
Eating apples and peanut butter
Caught up on some much needed rest.
Dave Taylor has an interesting take:
Twitter is in fact the perfect crude technological solution for exhibitionists, for people who are so convinced of their importance in the Big Picture that they believe others want to know exactly what they’re doing at all times.
From what I’ve seen, Twitter’s public timeline (i.e., the homepage), in many ways, reflects the absurdity of innumerable teen MySpace pages. MySpace comment sections are filled with unimportant exchanges like “Hey”, “NM”, “Chillen”, “Watching TV”, etc.
Understanding the Twitter fixation would be an interesting study. And one that I believe would solidify the premise that **today’s society now seems to choose mindless busyness over activities of substance. **
That doesn’t mean we are to throw Twitter out completely (see benefits mentioned above). The verdict is out on what it will become long-term (today’s fad or something with legitimate staying power).
Here are two ideas I found about Twittter via Twitter: