Twitter? Really?


Yeah, we said that too. And now we’re hooked. And so are all our friends. And their friends. And P Diddy (who is hilarious, by the way).

It’s the truth: Twitter is addictive as all get out. It’s like a condensed, boiled down version of everything we love about Facebook, Myspace, and Friendster (you remember Friendster, don’t you? No? Crap).

But there’s a million dollar question that folks are warming up to: what can you actually do with Twitter? Is it really that important to know about what your buddy from high school ate for breakfast? Maybe not that, but it’s pretty clear that there’s something powerful going on.

On the building-block level, there’s the basic input/output that Twitter provides, and that is rendered in the image above (thanks Noel). Twitter lets you build personal relationships with lots of people. Easily. It doesn’t matter what work you do: knowing people, and having them know you, is key.

Which isn’t to say that Twitter is all about using your followers to get what you want. Rather, it’s the definition of a two-way street – whether someone’s listening on the other end, well, that’s harder to say. That leads to a huge potential for collaboration and information sourcing.

Some of this aspect is outlined in the image above, but a recent article in the New York Times took it to a whole new level of analysis. Whether it’s coordinating mass political actions in Moldova, or breaking the very concept of a “news cycle” during the Mumbai attacks, information suddenly becomes fluid, accessible and stunningly fast.

In some ways, Twitter has outpaced the concept of journalism and citizen journalists. Now every person with access to the internet becomes a source of raw information. What will be interesting to see is if a new class of journalism arises, one step removed from the actual action, but leveraging group information to interpret events and analyze issues.

If this is the tip of the iceberg, one has to wonder how deep it will end up going.


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