What's so great about Twitter

twitter fail whaleA pretty good argument for Twitter by Steven Johnson in Time (via). People keep asking me this question, but I figured someone would come along and make the case. Still, a few thoughts:

For the time being, the only way to see what Twitter is about is to try it out for a few days. It’s pretty easy to find people to follow — just see who other people are following. The harder part maybe figuring out what to say. I guess it’s like blogging — the fear of the proverbial blank piece of paper. On Facebook there are a million pictures to comment on, cheesy quizzes to play with, and an endless stream of other stuff to react to. Twitter is all about you and what’s in your brain at that particular moment.

Posted: Friday June 5, 2009 by Alesh Houdek · · Comment feed for this post: RSS, atom



  1. Adam    Jun 6, 04:49 PM #  

    The search stuff is quite useful during ongoing events. For example news about S. California wildfires is many hours behind twitter—this means that if you are trying to track the progress of fires (or whatever) twitter is the best option, and can stay that way for many hours.

  2. NicFitKid    Jun 7, 07:35 PM #  

    The space-geek in me just wants to point out that you linked to the twitter of the Phoenix Mars Lander, not the Mars Rovers. The dynamic duo have their own twitter. The rovers have wandered around for a while now, while the Phoenix was a polar landing mission and quite stationary.

  3. alesh    Jun 8, 07:14 AM #  

    oh yeah… I guess I’ll leave it as is; as an illustrative example it works pretty well, and anybody interested enough will see your comment. oops.

    BTW, you know what’d be prefect for somebody who doesn’t have time for a proper blog but still has a talent for the occasional wisecrack? That’s right, TWITTER.

  4. Carlos D    Jun 8, 12:05 PM #  

    What bugs me the most about twitter naysayers is the focus on the 140-character limit. People who use twitter don’t spend their days toiling over how best to fit their massive pool of clever thoughts into a 140-characters, we just write them down and go on with our lives.

    Since when is a medium defined by its limitations? Have you ever heard anyone say “CNN.com is great but i’m so sick of reading articles with less than 500 words.” Or have you heard someone say “I would watch the local news but 45 seconds per news story is way too short a time to provide me all the information I need.”

  5. NicFitKid    Jun 10, 09:41 AM #  

    “Since when is a medium defined by its limitations?” —Carlos D

    Since Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  6. Alex    Jun 10, 01:38 PM #  

    I definitely don’t watch local news because of the 45 second format doesn’t fit my desire for exploring a subject in deep. Come on, what’s more defining about mediums than their inherent limitations? Newspapers can’t show you motion, internet is not yet fully portable, TV is lousy at long format and rewards the quick sound bite; etc. I have no interest in Twitter because for every good bon mot I read there are millions of inane shallow observations.

Commenting is closed for this article.