I wrote this for my personal blog, but thought it might be of interest here, seeing as this blog is partially about introducing new technology to people. Twitter, if you haven’t heard is a new “microblogging” service: you’re limited to 140 characters and the interface is designed to make posting and replying to others’ posts as simple as possible. I decided to try it out and here’s my response:
I’ve been using Twitter for a little over a week now. For a long time I was hesitant to sign up. While Twitter had lots of hype, the hype was all within a pretty narrow circle: sure, all the internet celebs on TWiT each week love Twitter, but they’re in the crowd using Twitter. Nobody I knew used Twitter and it seemed like the kind of thing that’s only useful if you know lots of people using it. But both the geek and the sociologist in me were interested in it, so when one friend signed up, I decided to give it a go.
My first response to Twitter, and I think the first response of many people, is “Why would anyone care what I’m doing minute to minute?” There’s definitely some vanity involved in Twittering, but not really that much more vanity than is involved in the human experience generally: Twitter is basically an extension of our capacity for gossip and our curiosity about others. We all gossip to some degree (some people think it’s even the key to our evolution as linguistic creatures), even if it’s the simple “So what’s new?” kind of catching up we do everyday with virtually everybody we see regularly.