Posted on Sep 17, 2008

(I’ve been horrible at keeping up with a blogging routine lately, but that’s a subject for a later post.) I was recently asked over email what I thought could be a potential “Twitter killer” as well as an interesting way Twitter is being used. Thought I’d share my off-the-top-of-my-head response:

Potential Twitter killer:

Lack of community
Twitter as a company has stated in the past that they view themselves as a “communications utility” and not a community. This is an unfortunate and potentially poisonous viewpoint to try and maintain. My guess is that Twitter wanted to view themselves as a utility to further propagate the idea that they want to scale to a huge size. Again, this is unfortunate as Flickr is a prime example of a massive web service that is known for scaling not only their web framework but their community as well. Flickr has proven over time that it can maintain a sense of community at a large scale (remember, they serve about 35,000 photos a *second*) by truly thinking about every user experience despite it sometimes making their heads hurt. Basic psychology shows that people connect more positively and interact more when they share common things with a group. If Twitter gets its wish and there is no longer a sense of community, then what motivation do users have to connect via Twitter than any other utility or service? Twitter works because the people you care about are into it, not because it’s really necessary for your boss to know what you had for lunch on a public webpage.

Interesting way people are using Twitter:

Location Based Interaction and Dating
Typically when people talk about interesting ways Twitter is being used, it’s on this grandiose scale of “look how my business is profiting from being social and spreading awareness”. Ok, that’s already been done, boring. When you live in the same city as others that you have mutual connections with on Twitter, it’s a great platform for spontaneous meetups, dates, and occasionally meeting new people. The new form of dating is almost this passive, cheesy situation like yawning to put your arm around someone during a movie. The first ping involves someone saying something like they’re hungry, the returning pong suggest a location, and before you know it, there’s a rallying ping pong of Twitter replies to make an IRL (in real life) event happen.

6 Comments

  1. Paolo Amoroso
    September 17, 2008

    In case you don’t already know it, for location based interaction see loopt.com

  2. Karen Snyder
    October 28, 2008

    I love the title of your blog and your observations about Twitter. You’re a great writer.

  3. MK (Casey) van Bronkhorst
    November 5, 2008

    Despite the best intentions of design, users ultimately design the use. Twitter is no exception.

  4. Jun Loayza
    November 7, 2008

    man you are right! Everything out there talks about how to use Twitter for business. EVERYTHING! Sometimes I forget that you can use Twitter for other things like going out on spontaneous dates or quick meetups for some coffee.

    I think at times people focus too much on the business side of social media and forget to really enjoy themselves and just build community w/o feeling the pressure of business development.

    I just found your blog through Veronica Belmont’s. You are awesome!

    Jun Loayza

  5. Twitter for business is so yesterday. It’s all about finding Twitter Love | TheBusyBrain Blog!
    November 25, 2008

    […] I have a theory that dates are getting more and more casual. No longer do you have to go up to the girl’s parents and ask them for permission to take them out. Well, actually… I’ve never done that myself. Here’s a better example: When I “pick up” a girl (Gosh, why does that sound so sleezy now? Thanks VH1), I’ll usually meet her in person first, get her number, and ask her out to coffee/dinner, depending on how I feel. But lets say you’re looking for something super casual. Lets say you’re looking to meet someone completely out of your network who hopefully has similar interests to you. Well, Twitter is the perfect app for you, and you don’t even know it yet! […]

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    Dating Hilfe und Tipps…

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