Real Time Search 3: Twitter

The latest Time has Twitter on Cover and a very nice article by Steven Johnson. I did not think that Twitter has any potential when I first heard about it – so following really resonated well with me:

The one thing you can say for certain about Twitter is that it makes a terrible first impression. You hear about this new service that lets you send 140-character updates to your “followers,” and you think, Why does the world need this, exactly? It’s not as if we were all sitting around four years ago scratching our heads and saying, “If only there were a technology that would allow me to send a message to my 50 friends, alerting them in real time about my choice of breakfast cereal.”

But once I started seeing some interesting applications I realized that it is a very unique thing, particularly:

Put those three elements together — social networks, live searching and link-sharing — and you have a cocktail that poses what may amount to the most interesting alternative to Google’s near monopoly in searching.

In fact, I am personally more interested in Twitter because it brings in the notion of an event as a package that can carry with it information as well as experience. The link-sharing aspect of it along with the fact that time and location can be associated with it, makes it basically an ‘event’ and the same sense that we have been using it in our group. This is truly exciting. We can do some very exciting things with it.

3 thoughts on “Real Time Search 3: Twitter

  1. Communication skills

    I agree with you that Twitter can be very exciting and would like to add that you need to do it properly (in fact I haven’t been able to figure it out yet). What I have noticed though is if you’re blasting out a tweet you want to do it at a time when most people are logged into their Twitter account. Otherwise, your message gets buried among all the other tweets that come in.

  2. Brass Candle

    I’ll admit that, for the longest time, I was exasperated by the Twitter hype. Like the world needs ANOTHER ego-massaging, social-networking time drain? Between e-mail and blogs and Web sites and Facebook and chat and text messages, who on earth has the bandwidth to keep interrupting the day to visit a Web site and type in, “I’m now having lunch”? And to read the same stuff being broadcast by a hundred other people?

    Then my eyes were opened. A few months ago, I was one of 12 judges for a MacArthur grant program in Chicago. As we looked over one particular application, someone asked, “Hasn’t this project been tried before?”

    Everyone looked blankly at each other.

    Then the guy sitting next to me typed into the Twitter box. He posed the question to his followers. Within 30 seconds, two people replied, via Twitter, that it had been done before. And they provided links.

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