Twitter is the greatest thing to come around the Internet in years. I had never been on the leading edge of technology acceptance – before Twitter. I did Usenet News after it had long gotten past its prime, slept through the World Wide Web. Blogging ? Set up my own online diary ? Why would anyone do that ? But Twitter does it all. Social computing. Online news and views. Bulletin boards. Twitter can do it all. It is my interface to everything I’ve done online for the past twenty years. It is east to join and easy to use. And, most importantly, Twitter is free.
Twitter is a model of user friendliness because it does functionality right. You get started right away and you can learn as you go. For an old guy like me, that’s important, because I still remember VHS and Betamax, but never had the patience to program my Video Cassette Recorder, and I still remember learning to type using Multimate on a Compac PC that ran DOS. No, not MS-DOS, just DOS. If you throw too much functionality at me too fast, a man my age cannot absorb it all, but with Twitter, I can keep up with the youngsters, even get ahead of them. I’ve recruited one of my three daughters for Twitter – they all had Facebook pages – and managed to get one other’s long dormant Twitter account linked to mine, I’m a low frequency blogger, so what I typically do is just manually insert the links to my blog entries as I update my site. I have cross-linked my Twitter page to Facebook.
For me, the most important and attractive feature of Twitter is to act as a “one-stop shop” for web browsing. I’ve linked many news services, including BBC, the New York Times, Die Zeit, and CNBC’s Fast Money onto my Twitter feed. Usually, I’ll log on before going to bed, to check out what is happening. I reserve Favorites for specific items I want to keep, and if I need to know more, I’ll go to the owning website. I discovered that the Onion News Network is up on Twitter, always a favorite. There are also a number of government sites linked into Twitter, including the White House. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin also have sites linked to Twitter, so if you want to know where Newt is having dinner this evening, check it out. I’ve been a little hesitant to tweet at work, since our office operates in a secure intranet and it might be taken wrongly – but Twitter does have enormous potential for business intelligence gathering. Just a few days after joining Twitter, I came across a very interesting project that was announcing its open solicitation just the day before.
Again – the power of Twitter is that it gets you to where you want to go on the information superhighway without getting stuck in traffic. That’s what we all need don’t we?