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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Twitter is all the rage.

Twitter is all the rage, it seems. This year-old site -- sort of a world-wide chat room -- seems to be really taking off. Social-media maven Ross Mayfield, in his Many-to-Many blog, shows a page-load chart of Twitter over the last year that demonstrates its recent near-exponential growth.

What do you do on Twitter? Some people refer to it as MicroBlogging. With the emphasis on Micro. You can exchange information... but you only have 140 characters. You can flirt... but the whole world is watching. You can chat with your friends... but your boss might be online. You can meet new folks... but the profile bio is also a mere 140 characters long.

Since this new networking site is so popular, you'd think it would be easy to find people explaining just how valuable it is. But instead, the general tone is "This is SO COOL. But kind of annoying. And I'm not sure it's of any value".

So Charlene Li can say in one breath:
Here's our take: Twitter is going to be overused, overloaded people, who will then get turned off. There is just simply too much noise and not enough valuable "signal" to be worthwhile. I run into a case of TMI - too much information -- in that I don't really need to know that you're heading to the bathroom, etc.
and in the next
Intrigued? I certainly am. I still take the current Twitter-mania with a huge grain of salt, mostly because in its current state Twitter is going appeal only to a small subset of people who enjoy publicly sharing what they are doing. But watch out -- I think that like IM, blogging, and social networking, services like Twitter will evolve with new features and functionality to actually become useful communication and information tools. Want more examples? Check out the Twitter Wiki for the latest.
The same dichotomy is evident in Beth Kanter's post where she ponders whether Twitter is of any value to the Non-profit sector. She's got links to quite a few interesting posts about the site, by the way.

My experience? Well, forget the IM or phone updates - I don't want to be beeped at every few minutes. I've written here before about how I detest the current fondness for "constant partial attention" -- meaning incessant interruption. And anyhow, my attempt to get it working with my phone failed miserably. But in the two days since I've set up my account, I've already met a few interesting new people, been pointed to a couple useful websites, and reconnected with a few folks I haven't talked to for a year. Give it a try... set up an account at, and connect to me: my username is michaelatmo.

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Comments on "Twitter is all the rage."


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (March 16, 2007 at 2:35 PM) : 

I'm twittering that I'm reading your article ..


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