Two weeks into the Twitter experience I need to sum up before I forget what life was like before twitter ...
I have to admit that I only joined a bit reluctantly, but it all turned out a lot better than I expected.
For instance, the asymmetric "following" tool, as opposed to the mutually agreed "friendship" on MySpace. I was kind of expecting this to produce a class society where celebreties broadcast what they had for breakfast and followers just follow. I was surprised to find that in practice it is a lot more democratic than that, as most people "follow back" as a matter of courtesy, and even celebrities occasionally answer to the tweets of common people.
I really like the power of the simple linking between people using the @username tool -- that must be the easiest networking tool ever invented. Also the automatic recognition and abbreviation of hyperlinks is a clever trick.
140 characters is a limit I can live with -- which in fact often requires the use of some creativity to fit the message in, so it's a bit like poetry. If I do have something much longer to say, I put it on the blog and post a summary with a link on twitter.
As a way of making new contacts, it turns out to be much more efficient than MySpace or FaceBook -- I have gained as many followers in 2 weeks as I have FaceBook friends after 2 years.
Finally, it is really intriguing to see how fast the Twitterverse is evolving its own specific culture, with new language (tweets, tweeps, twibes ...) and new traditions (e.g. #followfriday). Social scientists should scrap whatever they were doing before and just point all their telescopes at the twitterverse.
What I'm missing is the music and the detailed profile pages from MySpace. In a perfect social networking world, I would have MySpace as the platform with twitter replacing the messages, comments and bulletins. MySpace missed a trick here.
You can find my little island in the vast Twitterverse here: http://twitter.com/michaelgrr
PS here's Shakira tweeting from her blackberry: