It’s been bubbling under the surface for a while, but now everyone is Twittering.
From Stephen Fry to Barack Obama, a roll call of famous and not-so-famous individuals are logging on to social networking site Twitter and providing a mini blog of their everyday lives.
With individuals choosing to communicate and break information on this fast-moving platform, Twitter could have significant implications for issues of accessibility and customer experience.
But as the media hypes Twitter within an inch of its life, let’s take a deeper look at this ‘latest and greatest information revolution’. The platform certainly provides a format for instant communication and collaboration.
But what’s really different about this application? Is the mix of updates and messaging anything different, or - more importantly - anything better?
Probably not, when used in isolation as a web-based application. Users update their profiles with 140 characters; it’s a concept that will already be familiar to Facebook users. The fast-paced mode of interaction between users, meanwhile, will be familiar to instant messaging addicts.
What is different is the potential portability of the application. Facebook is more than an update – it’s a portal for photos, games and comment. It’s also a portal best viewed through the desktop.
Depth also hamstrings other social software platforms, such as wikis and LinkedIn. Both formats provide a useful format for detailed knowledge and collaboration that is more easily viewed through the PC.
Twitter is different because it is best experienced as a mobile application. Specially-written APIs, such as TwitterMobile and TwitterBerry, allow users to receive updates on the move.
And because the format of Twitter is so simple, it’s convenient to view information and respond using mobile devices. Twitter is all about updates; it should be about the here and now of a specific moment in time.
More consumable than most blogs and social networks, Twitter is the perfect mobile app. In fact, why text when you can ‘direct message’ through Twitter and connect with a much broader range of contacts?
If the mobile is the future of the computer, then Twitter could be the social application of choice for a portable generation.