Lots of people are talking about Twitter right now, and a lot of them are pretty high profile and influential. Twitter is pretty big, and it’s going to get bigger.
What is it? The best way to describe it is as micro-blogging. You can only write posts of 140 characters or less. Hardly the medium for composing massive essays on the future of the web, then. But pretty useful if you just want to let people know where you are and what you are up to.
To make posting more accessible, you don’t have to visit the Twitter homepage everytime you want to post. Instead, you can activate your instant messaging client to send messages to Twitter. That 140 character limit is important too – because you can post via SMS as well.
Another cool feature is that Twitter works as a kind of social network – you can subscribe to other’s Twitterings, and they can yours. Everything is RSS-ified as well.
What are the applications here, though? Apart from inanely keeping people interested in the minutae of your life? Marc Orchant notes some benefits:
I’ve been using Twitter for a while now and must admit that it has stuck in a way many social tools have failed to for me. Part of the reason, I suspect, is that it’s very low effort. But more to the point, many of by online buddies are using the service as well and that makes it a very convenient way to keep up to date on what they’re doing.
Yes, there’s an inevitable noise level inherent in this sort of thing. And the volume has gone up (way up) since Scoble, Pirillo, and Rubel decided that Twitter was cool. But all in all, there’s little not to like and the conversations are often quite interesting.
It is in the conversations that the benefit lies for me. Massive, disparate communities could grow up around Twitter, making it a great platform for discussion and sharing.