Archive for March 25th, 2008

Twitter – time for a killer app

March 25, 2008

The technology de jour seems to be Twitter, the increasingly popular micro-blogging service that allows you to post bite-sized, online updates on what you are doing at the moment. These 140-character texts are then circulated to groups of registered friends or, if you choose, placed on public display. There’s a YouTube video that provides a basic introduction.

Twitter was originally envisaged as a tool to exchange with friends simple messages (or “tweets”) about what you’re doing at any particular moment – “In the tea shop enjoying lemon drizzle cake” – but it seems to be morphing into more of a conversational tool which supports highly fluid, spontaneously forming online discussions. Those that love this new form of communication – the “twitterati” – seem to be revelling in it. The TweetVolume tool even lets you gauge what people are particularly interested in at any one time (try entering Obama and Clinton).

If you think about what it actually does, Twitter and services like it (such as Pownce) provide a kind of device agnostic form of paging. But is there a killer app for Twitter – beyond facilitating conversations? LunchoverIP has some material on how traffic news is being streamed through Twitter in St. Louis, and Howard Rheingold has a page of links and news items, including information on how protesters use it for co-ordinating meetings, but none of these really fit the bill.

An alternative view is provided by David Tebbutt of Information World Review who recently wrote: “If ego-driven, time wasting blog postings are being shrunk and shifted to Twitter, then what’s left ought to be a better, more thoughtful, blogosphere.”


Or should I say: