Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Multitude Aspect of Twitter

I love twitter. For me it's more than just microblogging. i meet the most interesting people and get the most interesting pieces of information on twitter.

Some days, it's like one huge digg like service with lots of link love. Then there are days when Philippine politics flows through my feed--- it doesn't hurt that a lot of those i follow are locals with political interests of their own. Some days it's all about the Tech and the art of being geek. And there are days when the financial wizards who i follow spread word. Where else can i catch the story of Bear Stearns live?

Ars Technica talks twitter. How Twitter is breaking down barriers in the classroom:

Most users come to microblogging through a similar path, because it seems so useless on the surface. When I first signed up for Twitter and Jaiku, the benefits weren't particularly obvious at first. Do I really care what anybody else is doing or thinking right at this moment, and can anybody really say anything profound in only 140 characters? It isn't until the pieces come together that it really starts to make sense. With a sufficient number of users, unexpected advantages begin to manifest themselves in surprising ways. It's a textbook example of the network effect in action.
As an experiment, Parry made Twitter a class assignment and got his students to engage in microblogging as homework. He observed how Twitter became the link that connected conversations inside and out of class. "Because the students had the shared classroom experience, when something came up outside of class that reminded them of material from class time, it often got twittered," he notes. "This served as a reinforcement/connection between the material and the 'real world.'" He also discovered that it changed classroom dynamics in a positive way, encouraging more respectful and productive interaction between students by turning the class into a community.Microblogging has many uses outside of the classroom as well.
During widely-followed events ranging from SXSW to the Academy Awards, users can express their own perspective on the shared experience and engage in a distributed, collective dialog. Twitter cofounder Biz Stone posted a blog entry after SXSW with a graphthat showed the volume of references to the event in Twitter messages. The number of messages peaked during major keynotes.These services are also a great way to get quick answers to questions. If I'm looking for a program that has a specific function and I don't know what is available, I can ask on Twitter and Jaiku and sometimes get quicker and more relevant responses than I would get by punching it into Google. This works for everything from restaurant recommendations to computer programming advice. Microblogging can even save you money if, like me, you have friends who post messages about the latest deals on computer hardware at various online retailers.

Clearly, Twitter is different to many people, as much as it is a different beast during some days. Sometimes, I feel Twitter is becoming the mainstream version of IRC--- the very backbone of communication on the Interwebbie.