Twitterpated

Last Updated Mar 27, 2008 9:59 AM EDT

Steve Gillmor recently blogged about Twitter as earthshaker, calling it a communications platform that will blow right past everything except platforms that allow it to dominate.

I wish he would've limited his post to 140 words (we won't force a blogger to use only 140 characters). That said, there's something to his idea that Twitter represents a powerful twist on communications. It's sort of like a digital, everyday Christmas card (such cards, after all, invented the one-to-many communique). That's absolutely powerful.

It's also absolutely tedious. Maybe a few Oscar Wilde think-alikes will thrive in it. But how many people will consistently have something great to say? And how long before our friends become spam? I've already turned off Twitter a couple of times because I was irritated by tweet number 20 halfway through my day. In fact, I keep my cell phone away from my office, so it won't bug me with tweets when I'm trying to get work done.

The other probable downside of the Tweetonomy: It will give us permission to tune out almost immediately in conversation. We'll talk in bursts -- an epigram or two, and on to the next person. Tweet ya later!

Facebook's status updates are very close to the same thing as tweets, and it's a natural thing to use there. It's obvious that twittering will become as much a feature on Web sites as RSS feeds. I suspect, though, that GIllmor is wrong that when he says "Suddenly people looked forward once more to dishwashing, exercise, long commutes, and the constant drumbeat of the mobile Twitter client."

Instead, we'll just have one more thing to tune out.


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  • Michael Fitzgerald

    Michael Fitzgerald writes about innovation and other big ideas in business for publications like the New York Times, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc. and CIO. He’s worked as a writer or editor at Red Herring, ZDNet, TechTV and Computerworld, and has received numerous awards as a writer and editor. Most recently, his piece on the hacker collective the l0pht won the 2008 award for best trade piece from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He was also a 2007 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion.

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