Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Twitter a killer application? No! But ...

A newby. That's what I am in the world of Twitter. Heard of it a couple of years ago - when it first started - but I was not interested. I had had my share of online social networking (WAYN, Hyves and couple of others) and was tired of all the small talk and triviality. Instead of spend too much time small talking with others somewhere else on Earth - who I hardly learned to know any better - I'd better read a book.
I'm convinced that we as human beings are still living in small groups of 40-60 people. Thousands of years ago we knew all of them in person and we were able to use all of our senses concerning them. Those groupmembers were physical near us. All this changed, step by step, since 1880: we have telephones, radio, TV and since 20 years internet. In our time "our group" is spread out over the world. In my case: my neighbours, my brother with his family 80 km away living in another city, a friend that moved for his work to London, my best friend who still lives in my hometown and a couple of internet friends - whom I never met in real - living all over the world. Our "hometown" is the world but we still live our lifes in our small 40-60 group. In this respect I can't grasp how anyone can possibly really follow and communicate with more than 1.000 twitterers.

Some statistics on Twitter. How many users? 14 million users (march 2009) of whom 60% never come back after 1 month. How much do they talk? The median number of lifetime tweets per user is 1; 10% of the twitterers generate more than 90% of the content. Why do they tweet? 29% promoting own company, 26% networking career, 25% finding new stuff, 9% to talk about anything except business, 9% other and 3% promoting non-profit organisation (source july 2009).

What's the point? Why do I tell you all this? Because I try to understand what Twitter "is" or "should be". Because for me Twitter is not a killer application. Nor for the internet nor for human beings in general. (If there's something a killer application on internet past 20 years than it must be the web browser and e-mail. They change(d) our lifes because they make it possible to share and consume information and to communicate 24/7 real-time all over the world.) Twitter is 1 way to talk/ tweet with other human beings. Next to 10's of other ways. Mostly small talk. Sometimes something that makes me wonder, smile or cry. Only sometimes. Deepness? Hardly any ... just as less or much as all our other ways to communicate with other human beings. Why don't I quit Twitter? Because I don't want to quit. I want to meet new friends/ members of my group. I want small talk. I hope I never have to use Twitter in an case of emergency (e.g. disaster, airplane crash, terror attack or riot). I'll patiently wait for a nice song, quote or a new friend passing by once in a while. May be a follower. May be a follower of a follower. Just passing by accidently. It's all about expectations! Welcome accidently passing by stranger ... let's tweet a bit.

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