Twitter Is To Blogging What Post-It Notes Are To Notebooks

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Have you checked out Twitter yet?
It’s being called a micro-Blogging platform. I’m not sure that is the best way to describe it. Simply put you can send a text message (SMS length) either through a website, instant messenger or mobile device to your own customized Twitter page (mine is here: Twitter – Mitch Joel). From there you add friends (like MySpace) who are also using Twitter. The point? To tell people what you are doing now (for instance, take a look at my Twitter widget on the left which shows you my latest posting). It’s another way to let other know what you’re up to… right now.
I’ve seen everything from people saying goodnight to technical questions being asked – it’s a real hodge podge of way-too-personal information. When I read some Twitter postings, I feel like the individual writing them has put a self-imposed Big Brother into their life. That gave me the creeps, but after reading the New York Magazine Article, Say Everything (which I Blogged about here: New York Magazine And The Must-Read Article, Say Everything), I’m starting to look at Social Media as a very different animal.
While I am not using Twitter to let people know what I am doing right now, I am using Twitter to post thoughts as they come to me. This can be everything from a great quote I just heard at a conference to something I might be watching on TV to a general thought that I don’t want lost in the complexity of a full Blog posting.
Twitter is like an IRC backchannel into my Blog (for those who want some wholesome extra goodness). I am also starting to respect those that are keeping with the intent of Twitter and the core idea that jumps off of the pages of the Say Everything article: how we define privacy is not how young people define privacy. This means that what is private and what is public is changing at such a frantic speed that we can hardly see the difference.
Why is this happening?
As consumers take more control of the media, these individuals are building tremendous personal brands and the people who are connected to these personal brands want more connections and information. Twitter takes this idea and brings it down to the core: what is that person doing right now. Imagine how many millions of people buy magazines to read about their favorite celebrity. Now imagine if those celebrities were using Twitter. Micro-chunks of information that keeps everybody in their loop.
Are you starting to feel like you need to unplug… permanently. That’s the point: young people don’t see this as an intrusion. They’re proud and happy to share. This is going to have huge ramifications on Marketers as these young people mature and run businesses the same way.
We’re all Blogging in hopes that transparency and authenticity leads to conversations and communities about our brands. Isn’t what Twitter is doing the highest form of this conversation?
If you’re still trying to wrap your head around Twitter, try it out. Either you’ll feel comfortable telling people what you’re doing right now (and reading what others are up to) or you’ll wonder why anybody would care whether or not you were going to pick up your kid at school or baking a pie for dessert.
Regardless, it’s a new channel that people are diving on and, as with everything, it won’t be long before Marketers get involved and figure out how to use Twitter to connect more effectively with our consumers.


  1. Shortly after you blogged this item, Twitter stumbled a little under the load of numerous text exchanges. In Ireland, that meant enduring a Twitter downshift–updates to my phone started lagging six to nine hours behind actual updates shown on While many believe Twitter is an evolution in microsite content delivery, it’s certainly not enterprise strength in its timeliness of message delivery.

  2. I was seeing some Twitter posts like, “did we break Twitter?” so I figured something was up.
    This is common and to be expected. It’s new and they are working through the bugs and challenges of steep growth, etc…
    I actually started by monitoring Twitter via SMS, I then switched it off and I only receive notifications through the web interface. This way I can Twitter when I want without it overloading my mobile device.

  3. It was hard not to notice how s-l-o-w Twitter is at night (eastern daylight time). Like you said, I figured it was just Twitter needing more bandwidth.
    Even though I am a fan of the BBC, I am completely turned off by their “ads”. Unless Twitter is owned by the BBC?
    By the way, I’m πŸ™‚

  4. Mitch,
    I don’t have a blackberry (I know you do) so for a while I had been looking for a way to set up an SMS notification system for myself much in the way you are using Twitter. If I’m away from my desk and think of something important, I wanted to be able to write an SMS and have my desktop updated with my latest brain dump.
    By combining Twitter with a tool called KlipFolio I managed to set up just this. If you are interested, you can see more in my quick and dirty tutorial I wrote up about it:
    P.S. — when are we meeting to discuss Convergence Culture? πŸ˜‰

  5. Funny, I was just listening to your podcast from Toronto, in which your “11th” point of separation was about twitter. I had never even heard about it and now I read about it on your blog, too. Seriously, this is only something for true digital natives – or at least deeply engaged immigrants. I myself would want to share my whereabouts all the time…

  6. If celebrities were using Twitter then paparazzi would be either too busy or unemployed!
    As for the non-celebrity people, excessive use of Twitter can potentially bring them closer to many celebrities (in rehab resorts).

  7. One more thing… I just visited the Twitter site (didn’t know about it until now) and I have a question: did Skype’s logo designer leave the company?
    P.S. I didn’t sign-up for a Twitter account (yet)

  8. Chris Brogan pointed me to these guys a while ago, and I’ve yet to really dig into it. I like the way you’re using it on your site. Certainly, jotting down thoughts that are important or relevant to what you are doing makes sense, but I’m still not seeing the idea that “I’m making an omelet for breakfast. It has onions, peppers and some grated cheese in it.” makes for compelling reading. I’ve stumbled across other people’s twitter accounts, and half of what is in there makes my brain scream “so what?!? I really don’t care!”
    However, I can totally digg using it to support a mission, whether its for making micro posts for your blog, random, but interesting thoughts, or what have you, that makes sense. How to nail this down…
    Hmmm… OK. Here goes.
    I don’t really care that you took your dog for a walk. However, if you had an epiphany or a paradigm shift, or even if something interesting or funny happened WHILE you were walking your dog, then OK, let me hear it.
    Am I making sense?
    Am I alone?
    People, let me know!

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