Ode to a twitter.

Nick Carr has knocked twittering on a number of occasions.

We’re Tweety Birds.

I did! I did taw a puddy tat! [half a minute ago]

I tawt I taw a puddy tat! [1 minute ago]

I’ve not done one of my poncy literary quote posts for a while, so here goes… I’ll spring to the defence of Twittering by calling up the big guns from ages past. In this case John Keats. The bloke who died young and did that Greek pot thingy also figured that birds, especially those that tweet, were pretty cool. 

 ‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
 But being too happy in thine happiness, –
 That thou, light winged Dryad of the trees,
     In some melodious plot
 Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
 Singest of summer in full-throated ease

(see the wikipedia entry on the poem)

James really raves about Twitter so I sense Nick got irked with his too Happy in thine Happiness riff.

I’m a fan of Twitter, but more so of the act of twittering. I was mildly skeptical at first, but once I saw that half a dozen good friends of mine were using it, I began to pay it more attention.  Jason Wood, taking yet another well-deserved break from composing  his Sapphire epic post, is eloquently puzzled by Twitter.  Dennis, the human mashup: half curmugedeon-half gadget freak, now gives Twitter the thumbs up, after dissing it at first. One of Dennis’s favourite sayings is strong opinions, weakly held.  He now calls Twitter “a bit stream of personality” Spot on Dennis!  It was his Twitter that alerted me to Jason’s post. And yes, I would have got to it in my feedreader eventually.

Twitter fills that space between email and my feedreader,and I’ll use it until something better comes along.  It beds down nicely in my nest of lightweight tools, Confluence, Livewriter, Google Reader, WordPress,gmail and my nano-microphone. It provides a mix of personal stuff, work stuff and humour. I keep up with about 20 or so “friends” now, some of whom I meet a lot in person, others I haven’t. 

Via James  I found Ted, who links to Leisa Reichelt on Amibent Latency. (two new adds to the feed)

Ambient intimacy is about being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible. Flickr lets me see what friends are eating for lunch, how they’ve redecorated their bedroom, their latest haircut. Twitter tells me when they’re hungry, what technology is currently frustrating them, who they’re having drinks with tonight.

Who cares? Who wants this level of detail? Isn’t this all just annoying noise? There are certainly many people who think this, but they tend to be not so noisy themselves. It seems to me that there are lots of people for who being social is very much a ‘real life’ activity and technology is about getting stuff done.

There are a lot of us, though, who find great value in this ongoing noise. It helps us get to know people who would otherwise be just acquaintances. It makes us feel closer to people we care for but in whose lives we’re not able to participate as closely as we’d like.

Knowing these details creates intimacy. (It also saves a lot of time when you finally do get to catchup with these people in real life!) It’s not so much about meaning, it’s just about being in touch.

Ted goes on to say

One thing that attracted me to Twitter was that it was a one stop shop. Web view, RSS view, IM integration, Text Message integration, and a REST based API for additional integration (I can’t wait until Bear gets done hacking Twitter support into supybot). There’s going to be a bunch more experimentation with Twitter, both via technology hacks, but also via social hacks. I think that this is going to be an interested playground to be a part of. The top thing on my list is the ability to have subgroups (both dynamically and statically) formed inside Twitter.

Craig is thinking of knocking together a SAP Twitter integration. Not because he reckons that it will be useful, but that it might be useful. If you’d like to see Twitter in a simple work context, read Craig’s post here. 

A year ago it was hip to say I found my job via my blog. It won’t be long until someone I know will say in 140 characters or less, I twittered my way into a cool new job.

I’m not sure if the Twitter tool will stand the test of time, but twittering will. Bring on the singest of summer in full-throated ease.

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3 thoughts on “Ode to a twitter.”

  1. I, too, didn’t get Twitter for a long time, but now am a convert. And, hey, the “bitstream” thing was my comment on Jason’s blog, not Dennis 🙂 It’s true, though, these more casual tools reach deeper beneath the celebral level you absorb on blogs and in workplace social media where we really start to connect like, well people again. It strengthen the bonds within your community of digital cohorts or “tribe” as I’ve been hearing lately.

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