It hit me in the shower last night why exactly Twitter is so powerful. It’s like IRC.
No, I’m not kidding and don’t run away yet.
Today @stripedshirt and @valene were talking about why MSN (aka IM) isn’t used by them anymore, simply because it’s too distracting. On top of that, MSN mostly allows for one-to-one conversations (yes I know you can add more people to conversations), but Twitter is cool in that you can have many people adding to a conversation at different times of the day and it’ll continue on.
And that’s what I like most about Twitter and that’s why it’s so powerful. It requires a short amount of attention, but it allows you to feel connected and part of a community more than IM does (at least for me). A real example is when a few of us just got started on Twitter. Me (@uniquefrequency), Andre (@stripedshirt) and Valene (@valene). So 3 of us kinda were messaging here and there but with only 3 people, there wasn’t much benefits to reap in terms of network externalities.
Fastforward 4-6 weeks, add in Andre’s group’s great presentation on microblogging, and now we have Nabilah (@allquirknoplay), Jacqueline (@jacquelinechang), Amelia (@amsie), Lionel (@gaothebao), Peiling (@gniliep), Alaska (@alaskie), Xiao Hui (@thehsuperficies), Mark (@beatmastermark), Gladys (@gladyschock) and Christina (@tinana).
The best part is I have less than half of these people on my MSN list, and yet I talk more to most of them than to other people on my MSN list.
It’s like IRC in that we all drop in the same “room” at different times of the day and maybe I’ll know that some of them are in the library, some are awake at 5am finishing a project, who’s in a Starbucks, and the list goes on. It’s come to a stage where we even have @SMUtweets to tweet school-related stuff to all of us. How cool is that?
To me, Twitter has truly become the new social water cooler.
You might argue that 13 of us out of a school population of 4,500 is insignificant. But is it really? If you were a company and you had 13 passionate advocates following your brand on Twitter, Tweeting things to each other and spreading your brand and/or message, wouldn’t you be happy? (Wouldn’t it be great if Frujch could tell us when the queue is short? Or if portobello melts are running out so we can ZOOM down to get the last few?)
I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and here’s an experiment I want to run: All of us SMU students currently on Twitter should aim to get one, just one, other friend on Twitter by Week 14 (just lean over to the person next to you in the library and do some convincing!). We’re going to try to double the SMU-Twitter population and see just how far we can go with this in really forming a community and network, and see what comes out of it.
Post your success stories and/or great Twitter stories in the comments section so we’ll know who to follow and we’ll review this experiment in 2 weeks! Let’s keep in mind that getting new people to sign up on Twitter is just the first step, we need to make them feel welcome to get them to stick around and enjoy it as much as we do!
Tags: alaska, alaskie, allquirknoplay, amelia, amsie, beatmastermark, christina, curiousfoodie, frujch, gaothebao, gniliep, im, instant messaging, irc, jacqueline, jacquelinechang, lionel, mark, microblogging, microsoft messenger, msn, nabilah, online conversations, peiling, smu twitter, smutweets, social media experiment, social water cooler, stripedshirt, thehsuperficies, tinana, twitter, twitter community, twitter experiment, twitter network, twitter population, twitter stories, uniquefrequency, valene, water cooler effect, xiaohui