No, You're Not a Twit if You Twitter

Last Updated Jun 18, 2009 7:50 PM EDT

Is Twitter a passing fad or a great example of end-user innovation?

I just finished reading Stephen Johnson's front-page article, "Why Twitter Matters" in Time Magazine and he puts forward a good case for Twitter being "the best poster child" for the new model of social creativity.

Twitter, along with Facebook, the Apple iPhone --- even the web itself --- have been adapted by users causing these innovations to flower at breathtaking speed.

What exactly is Twitter? Users publish tweets of up to 140 characters (like SMS), via their computers or mobiles to people who want to follow their movements, thoughts, ideas, and what they are, reading, thinking, working on. You might see:

  • Just landed in Sydney on way to big client pitch for XYZ product
  • Oprah asking for a "surefire remedy for ticks"
  • Latest on the elections in Iran "They have just stormed the streets"
If you look beyond "Just had a bowl of cereal" variety of tweets, you will find public conversations about what is important in the world today.

Many users have evolved the art to the point where it can add real value to business by:

  • Pointing to links, blogs, articles
  • Sharing news and opinions
  • Asking for assistance
  • Advertising
Often it seems that these micro-events themselves are pointless --- who cares about what someone had for breakfast? "I don't have time for this nonsense" some say, and stay well clear of it.

Ignore the phenomenon at your peril --- creativity and innovation is about exploring new ideas, being aware of what is out there and applying new concepts and perceptions to your environment.

Spend just 30 minutes exploring new concepts, both online and offline once a week to stimulate your thinking and stay funky.

For full disclosure: yes, I Twitter, update my Facebook profile daily, have had my iPhone since they came out, and of course, blog on a regular basis --- even though I am 40 (plus GST)!

Search Twitter for #timetwitter for discussions on the Time article.