Random Observation/Comment #180: Facebook status updates might be more popular if they had a catchier name. Tweeting, Twitting, Twatting, or whatever you want to call it, just has that sexy ring to it. “I like what you twittered today.” – cool. “Your facebook status update told me you didn’t do shit today.” – not as cool.
Even though this is not the focus of my blog, this subject has been on my mind (and everyone elses) very recently. Apparently, the Twitter trend is spreading like wild-fire probably due to some really convincing marketing strategy presentations (and twitter posts). Everyone wants a piece of the action now that mainstream media has decided to reach out to celebrities. The foundation is solid and there are really a lot of venues that this idea can be useful for.
Thanks to the plumbing system (a.k.a. RSS), we have a new web life that pushes information to our browser instead of searching for answers. Granted, searching is still a necessity, but the news world is being replaced. We’re all becoming reporters, and the great thing is that we’re actually heard. This seems to be our new democratic world – a crowd-sourced information center. Our thoughts are spread to our followers and we’re connected much more closely than I ever thought imaginable.
Facebook had the right idea, but their focus will probably maintain in the profile, messaging, and photograph form. Their biggest fear is the bandwidth costs for photo distribution. Yes, we can scroll through my 200-some-odd albums as if it were directly streamed from my computer, but imagine how much information we’re downloading from their servers for this luxury. Twitter, on the other hand, has a much lighter payload of 140-character textboxes, which makes this micro-blogging business much simpler. It has built the base structure that has opened everyone into this new community.
The interesting thing about this is the clustering of these virtual opinions. If everyone writes how they’re feeling, what they’re reading, what they’re eating, or where they’re going, you’ve basically created real-time data. This means that instead of having only a small percentage of reporters out in the field and conducting research on the best stories (that would probably get the most ratings), we’ve opened up this new media to every person with an internet connection. Although other web startups have tried this, it seems like the momentum have boosted Twitter’s attention.
Businesses are starting to promote personal services by gathering followers and exploiting their noob-factor. When the first page picture advertisements were released, everyone clicked on them and fell for these flashy ads or plain text hyperlinks. Now, we’ve introduced this new platform where so many people just fumbling with the service can start increasing counts to people’s websites. It’s exactly like spamming emails, but making this much more public and adding a completely new dimension of interacting with your selected preferences.
RSS readers have provided the service of gathering real-time updated content from all your favorite sites and putting it into a nice little personalized-news update (Google Reader does a great job). Although this is very powerful and saves a large amount of time, it doesn’t seem to represent a person’s real-time thoughts. This is why every major content out there has this list of content sharing mash-ups that allow a one-click “tweet” or “facebook share” or “delicious” or whatever social network you choose. It contains the power to tell all of your followers what you’re thinking at any time of the day. Sooner or later, people will think you’re cooler? More interesting? Have a lot of time on your hands? Would companies want to hire someone who is always lost in their virtual identity? Hmm…
The micro-blogging world is basically status-updating. I’ve found that blogging, although very relieving, does not always maintain its real-time aspect. I’ve been traveling for 3 months, and I’ve only written 1.5 months of these experiences. Without the real-time aspect of blogging, I’m just writing random thoughts about random things. In no way does it help my parents understand my everyday life. If half of the goal is to keep the people close to me updated on these traveling thoughts, would it be easier to more frequently update statuses?
There is an art to staying concise, and this is an art that I have reevaluated many times. There is also an art to staying on topic and maintaining people’s interest (which has probably drifted from the sheer volume of my entries). It seems like my severe-case of ranting is really only interesting in small doses – thus micro-blogging. Maybe it’s time for a change. What about those 1.5 months? I will maintain writing them, but for travel purposes.
~See Lemons Tweet