Cloud gazing: Twitter

When I sat down to write my first entry in my new series Cloud Gazing I had planned on writing about some web based Twitter clients and communication tools. But as I was thinking about it I realized that I have never written a post about Twitter or its competitors. So since I plan on talking about tools that connect to it, I thought I should start with Twitter. This isn’t the first time that I’ve planned on writing about twitter, but it will be the first time it makes into my blog. So today I will look at micro blogging site Twitter.

twitter_logoWhen you first go to twitter you are asked ‘What are you doing?’ and gives you 140 characters to answer. Your answer is posted to the stream so that the world can know whatever you answered. Its a simple but effective interface. You then have the people you follow and the people following you. You see the status messages from every one you follow whenever they post it. This can be viewed on the site, or with one of the many clients that are out there. You can also receive updates by SMS on your phone.

One of Twitter strengths is the uses of SMS. It’s also the reason for the character limit. The idea of twitter is you can do it anywhere from your mobile phone. A simple text message and your status is updated. Plus you get regular updates from the people you follow.

The great thing about Twitter is the conversations it sparks. When you post random thoughts or question to a crowd of friends and strangers you can get a lot of interesting responses.  The key here is having a community of followers and to follow interesting people. Of course you only get what you put it. The more you use it and engage with the other users the more interesting and informative will it be.

Watching twitter as it’s evolving both with new features and new uses by third parties is fascinating. Twitter has a powerful API that allows almost anyone to use twitter for there own projects. On of the more interesting uses I’ve seen is the Remote control for you desktop computer. One thing is certain there are a ton of uses for twitter that was never envisioned when it first came online.

That said not all the innovation is happening with Twitter, there are a number of services that do a similar things to Twitter. Plurk with its innovative timeline view, where the conversations are built right into the messages. Or StatusNet / the distributed open source micro-blogging system which is trying to making micro-blogging more like email where it doesn’t matter what server you use everyone can communicate.


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