I’ve been meaning to blog about Twitter for a month. But the minute I think I’ve got things figured out – they change. First, let me set the record straight- I’m not a geek. I’m just a guy who makes his living by rearranging familiar ideas into new ones so that people remember them. It’s not really all that geeky. A bit strange perhaps, but not geeky. Over the years though, I’ve been forced to learn new communications platforms and their technologies as part of my job. During the last quarter of 2008, I invested as much time as possible in learning basic concepts of social media. It started innocently enough by finally updating my Linkedin profile that I opened in 2005. From Linkedin, I decided to give Facebook a try (thanks Obama). After stumbling my way through FB’s social landscape, I decided to look into this Twitter thing. I had no idea what it was in October. And still don’t. I suppose I may never know for sure. But I do know that it’s a communications platform that’s morphing by the minute. And it’s beautiful.
So what is Twitter? Simply stated, Twitter is a platform for real-time dialogue. That’s it. Think CB radios with highly filtered noise. Oh, and no lonely truckers singing songs that prevent others from communicating. Sure, there are likely a few lonely truckers on Twitter, but they’re limited to 140 character sound bites. And you don’t have to follow them if you don’t want to. Essentially, Twitter is a CB radio with millions of channels.
Because Twitter is based in dialogue, when you write something that other people are interested in, you gain “followers.” Likewise, when you read interesting ideas from other people, you subscribe to their dialogue feeds and become their “follower.” It’s reciprocal love on a whole new level. The result is real-time hyper-connectivity with people you want to engage with. It’s a serendipity machine.
And the best part is that Twitter provides access to some of the brightest people on the planet. People who understand that 140 characters can be novel, if you’re efficient enough. As for any naysayers who may think Twitter is just good fun for the technically inclined, check out Twitter’s massive growth rate in 2008. Then think about how the best advertising is not sometimes, but always “word of mouth.” Which brings us back to Twitter’s core concept – dialogue. The stuff that kept truckers awake on long, lonely nights 30 years ago.