Thursday, January 1, 2009

How Do You Tell Others What Twitter Is?

Did you ever have trouble conveying what Twitter is to others over the age of 25? It's easy to tell people that it is a place where you can post messages up to 140 characters long for others to read and vice versa. That doesn't convey the value of Twitter, an online application that has been around since 2006. This is clearly a problem for Twitter because their home page has What? Why? and How? buttons right at the top of the page. Then they have a video trying to explain it:

Direct link to video:

After reading the definitions and watching the video, I still have problems telling a simple story to people about the value of Twitter. If you look under the video itself on YouTube, the comments are:

  • Twitter is gay
  • Twitter is a waste of time
  • None of my friends have Twitter, so what's the point?
  • this app looks stupid and a waste of time.
  • that sucks. why dont just pick up ur f**kin phone and call a friend? THATS networking, not posting on a stupid website and stop talking to genuine human beeing (typos left in place to protect the illiterate)

I don't have an answer here, but the other day something struck me while listening to AM Radio. I was listening to a New York news station, 1010 WINS, and realized that the manner in which they tell us news is Twittering. They don't give you in-depth news coverage. They give you updates of the most important stories. Want to know what is going on in the Middle East or who will really get Obama's vacant Senate seat? You'll get 140-characters-ish snippets of the latest on these stories, but not an essay or even a blog entry.

That still doesn't answer the content problem of why you'd want to know that I'm drinking coffee right now, but you really have to take a step into Twitter's world to see the value. So go on and tweet...Sign up for free if you haven't already:

You should probably do this fast before Facebook's version of Twitter replaces it. ;)

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