Twitter is not just for the birds.
Decisions. Decisions. How to stay in touch with the exponential growth of the technical information being developed by our exponentially growing network of contacts. The Internet is a fertile field for all this growth but how do we poor humans stay on top of it.
The simplicity of Twitter has been very seductive. With only a maximum of 140 characters and spaces, you can only deliver the meat. To an extent its overwhelming attraction has been its undoing. So often in recent days quite frequently all the Twitter site is showing is the following:
Twitter has now come clean on its technical problems. Roland Hachmann is surprised that we complain about Twitter’s failures when it’s free. However it might appear that powerful competitors offering free services will benefit from Twitter’s problems. FriendFeed seems to be picking up momentum as it offers the ability via RSS news feeds to be aware of what your friends find interesting. You can also comment and converse easily about these in an almost Twitter-like way. I can understand why some say they are migrating from Twitter to FriendFeed given the current problems. Another elegant solution with some similarities is SecondBrain. Here you can store all the online properties that are important to you and your contacts can check them out too. That name SecondBrain suggests all sorts of possibilities in terms of improved thinking.
However when it comes to brainstorming, I think Twitter in all its simplicity beats the complexities of SecondBrain. A little reflection on this will show why.
Why does Twitter work?
JD Rucker has an interesting post on all the things you can do with Twitter, based on a survey he did on Twitter.
In a recent inquiry to dozens of online friends, I discovered one truth about Twitter. People either love it and use it daily (even hourly) or they absolutely hate it. Few people fit into the ‘moderate feelings’…
Mark Evans has also come to the defense of Twitter in suggesting that Lorne Feldman Is Wrong About Twitter. In a video included in the post, the only point that Feldman seems to make is that if you appreciate the instant feedback from Twitter, it probably means you’re a loser. Without realizing it, I believe that Feldman has focused on the one most important strength of Twitter – instant feedback.
Your TwitterSphere Can Be Your Extended Brain
Perhaps Twitter can act as your central nervous system on the Internet. If you have a few hundred people following you on Twitter, then it can act almost like your subconscious. You may only check it a few times a day. Perhaps those few hundred people also check it only a few times a day. But at any moment you may be able to contact randomly a handful of people from your network. So if you’re trying to think of new solutions, check with your subconscious. If it’s important, you could ask the same question half a dozen times at fifteen minute intervals.
A Small Example Of Twitter Brainstorming
A small example yesterday confirmed the efficacy of this approach. I was doing research for a blog post on Free Website Reviews and wanted to be sure I was covering all the angles on this. The item was at the same time announcing a new SMM service for Website Mini-Reviews. My question on Twitter produced a most useful response from David Mihm in Portland, Oregon, who is someone you may find it useful to follow on Twitter. He suggested a new line of thought that I had completely overlooked. This new thought triggered in my TwitterSphere seems so analogous to the way a new thought may be fired in your brain’s synaptic circuits. That is why the notion of Twitter as an extended (and subconscious) brain seems a very useful concept.
Presumably Twitter will put behind it this horrendous period of inferior service and emerge strengthened. Its competitors have been given a real opportunity for a period. We also now have Jaiku, recently acquired by Google, slowly building up its membership on an invitation-only basis. It has some similarities with Twitter but will inevitably edge out and add on other gadgets.
Twitter is the supreme example of a KISS-based tool. It really is just Instant Messaging to the nth degree. I for one hope that it continues to keep that focus.