Insight#5: More Good Ways to Use Twitter

19 Mar 2007 (Mon)

IT HAS BEEN A “Twittering” weekend for me.

First, read Beth Kanter’s post on Twitter for Nonprofits: Waste of Time or Potentially Useful? where she quoted Chris Brogan’s 5 Ways to Use Twitter for Good. Now, let’s see: Quick Human Answers, Conference / News Briefings (or news flash), Friendsourcing, Micro-Attention-Sharing, Direct People to Good Causes, or Staying in touch with others without being intrusive… I could use some of these.

Was finally tempted enough to check out Twitter. Still, Twitter seemed to have greater potential for meaningless distraction than meaningful connection. On first impressions, most of the twitters looked pretty random and pointless. Also, seemed to me that Twitter works somewhat like a Shoutbox, except that it has the advantage of mobility — i.e. it can be received via IM and mobile phone.

“WHY ON EARTH would people want to tell the world what they are doing right now? … To think aloud? Brainstorm? Cry for help? Connect to some human? See something unexpected? Just plain bored? Exhibitionist?” was some of my first twitters. These question have been answered quite quickly through several happenings and/or snippets of information.

Found this interesting article, Group Messaging Instincts: How to recover them (thanks to one of tmas68’s twitters) which explains how ‘one-to-many’ broadcast messaging is part of our human instincts, just like the way ants use chemical messages, bees use dance and dolphins use sonar.

Next, subscribed to Mashable’s useful one-liner news updates on Web 2.0 happenings and I thought, “Great! A simply way to be updated on the move.”

Then, added John Edwards as a friend out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised to see that he has added me too very quickly. This illustrates to me the political potential of a tool like this. Whether Edwards actually reads my twitters is immaterial at this point in time. Perhaps his secretary’s secretary does or doesn’t. What impresses me is that virtually, he seems willing to be a follower.

Next, checked out TwitterVision because Scoble mentioned it and tmas68 too. I’m impressed though I ‘ve seen a similar version in BlogPaul’s Frappr TwitterAmI map (see below) earlier and had created my own Frappr map.

The fact that TwitterVision is a visual display of real-time messages from real people (with names and photos) contextually placed on a map makes the experience rather mind-boggling. (Educational visualization)

Just 7 hours ago, Alex King twittered that Twitter Tools 1.0b2 for WordPress has just been released. This means, I presume, my daily twitters could be published together as a post like the way tmas68 does on his Vox blog. (Mobile micro-blogging)

Finally, my Web statistics shows that this blog’s getting a good amount of Web traffic from

I think I’m going to be twittering for a little while more.

Afternotes (2007-03-22):

  • More useful tweets: Slashdot, BBC, TechMeme, Chris Brogan, Scoble and other celebrity bloggers are in Twitter too. Many, however, also send out lots of personal/useless/distracting tweets. I truly hope Twitter would make it possible for users create two separate channels — one for business and the other for friends/fans. E.g. tmas68 added a business line at 1news4tm yesterday.
  • Just found a list of Twitter scripts and plugins. Use at your risk!
  • Beware of addiction! See Amy Jo Kim’s explanation of How Game Mechanics Can Make Your App More Fun and Kathy Sierra’s post Is Twitter Too Good?
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Posted by J.K. in *Insights, Mobile, Possibilities, Social Media, Technology | View Comments |

  • dan1el

    As much as I want to install Twitter I know it’s just going to be another thing to distract me from my work. When I’ve got the discipline issue out of the way I might give it a try. :)

  • J.K.

    Yes, discipline is important. There’s nothing to install though. Just registration and confirmation of phone and/or IM.

    Update 2007-03-23: Found a Twitter wiki! Apparently created by Kenneth Udut.

  • Beth

    I concur. Twitter can give attention deficit disorder ..

  • Kenneth Udut

    I didn’t create the twitter fan wiki, alas. I wish I did – it’s a great site! I love it. I was just an early promoter of it. I’m the twittersubmitter guy. twtsub and twtview are my two contributions to the twitter world, as well as the simple instructions on posting to your twitter account using your web browser or your favorite web based tool (that was the original twitter submitter) -Kenneth Udut,

  • J.K.

    Kenneth, I saw your name listed as an administrator on the fan wiki, so I thought… Thanks for the correction. :-)

  • hariman

    Nice information, thanks.

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