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"WuzUp?"

By - November 19, 2009

Screen shot 2009-11-19 at 2.32.51 PM.png

From Biz’ post on Twitter’s shift:

Twitter helps you share and discover what’s happening now among all the things, people, and events you care about. “What are you doing?” isn’t the right question anymore—starting today, we’ve shortened it by two characters. Twitter now asks, “What’s happening?”

Well, regardless of spin, this is a major shift, to my mind. Semantics matter, *a lot*, when your entire business is, well, semantics. Language is how we encode that which is essential to who we are. And there is a world of difference between “What are YOU doing” (emphasis mine) and “What’s happening”.

For starters, it’s a rather subtle leapfrog of Facebook, which has recently mimicked Twitter with its status updates. Facebook is stuck (but there are upsides to this stuck-ness) in a personal framework. Twitter, by moving past the YOU, is declaring Facebook’s imitation moot.

Will that stick? We’ll see. But I love to see the evolution of the space. It’s such good narrative…

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  • JFCorrea

    The People makes with the tools anything, specially in Social Media. No rules.

  • George

    I am still looking for someone to explain the value of Twitter to me. As far as I can tell it is almost entirely noise. It is the last place I would go to learn anything at the moment. On top of that, your many comments about how they need to grow the ways in which people can share in these microblog posts are bang on. Why do you (media) spend so much time talking about Twitter? Why are its minor shifts new worthy? You look at something that seems to be far more agile and creative like Facebook and it becomes even more confusing.

  • http://reeflines.com Richie Vos

    I felt the same way about twitter as George originally, but now I use it all the time. I think the big thing one has to understand is most people don’t use twitter as a search engine. It can do that, and as this blog talks about it has some neat aspects towards that, but that’s not really what I see the main use-case is.

    I personally think twitter is more of an RSS feed of the thoughts and interesting tidbits of people you know or are interested in. Yes you could follow 50 blogs and people could post a bunch of 1-liners, but that’s the niche twitter fills.

    With twitter I just follow some people I’m interested in, related to topics that interest me, so there’s a decent likelihood of what they find interesting enough to tweet is going to be interesting to me. If over time that turns out to not be the case, I will stop following them.

    So I guess that’s what I see twitter as and where I see it’s value lie, as an RSS feed of interesting people’s interesting thoughts. And time-to-time I can search through all these thoughts if I need to try and find something.

    There is a ton of noise in twitter, but there’s also a ton of noise on the web. People don’t like to be annoyed, noise is annoying, so people filter out the noise by managing their followers.

  • jenkins

    You have to love John for making something out of the “micro-blogging” service known as Twitter. It’s a real-time search engine, no, it’s a social network, no, it’s a personal broadcast mechanism…

    The truth is that no one knows what Twitter will become. It’s just kind of funny to watch people foam at the mouth about Blogger reincarnated.

  • http://twavl.com Brian Hayashi

    There’s a TV show called ‘Heroes’ where the conceit is that people have super-abilities like they do in comic books.

    In one scene a person picks up the power to hear anything. At first it’s overwhelming but as time goes on they learn how to use that ability to eavesdrop on conversations and hear what’s happening all over the world.

    Twitter is a bit like that…but what’s more important is that by supplying an API Twitter makes it possible to create wholly automated approaches to listening and responding. In that light, Twitter reminds me more of the cue tone: silent, inaudible tones that are used to synchronize video content — and by the way, directly enabled the creation of television networks.

    And, btw, if you look up the definition of cue tone — Twitter’s new slogan makes even more sense.

    Just sayin’.

  • http://www.izokon.com Dış Cephe

    I personally think twitter is more of an RSS feed of the thoughts and interesting tidbits of people you know or are interested in..Thanks.

  • George

    And how does one gain the ability to filter other than search?
    I think this very page reinforces the madness of Twitter to me. Other than the fact that it is Twitter, its contents are unlikely to be germane this particular blog post. As I look at it right now it contains links to funny videos and the impossible to comprehend personal sentence fragments so common to both Facebook and Twitter.
    To take it from a different angle, if all of the comments thus far here are the best we can do with this service right now, then why should companies like Google spend the time and money to get results from Twitter close to real time? Presumably, in the amazing chance that something worthwhile is being pointed at by a tweet, the target is also out there, and I would much prefer to skip Twitter.

    Side thread: Any clever way to combine the words clutter (or a synonym) and twitter?