Twitter: I begrudgingly get it
More than two years ago, I made a post on here about how I didn't get Twitter. It's one of the most popular posts I've ever made for some reason, which perhaps I'm not proud of. I been meaning to follow up on that for, well, at least a year, because obviously things have changed a great deal.
My view was skewed in some respects because I never looked at it much outside of the context of technology circles. In its earlier days, Twitter was dominated by attention whoring tech pundits, and that seemed boring to me. These days, it enjoys more widespread use, but there are still some critical points that measure how effective it is as a communications medium, and furthermore, it serves different people different ways.
That 80% of people never post anything and have few followers indicates to me that a lot of people are tending a flock, and that's OK. In reality, this is a lot like any other Internet media we have, whether it be blogs or Web sites as a whole. It's a minority that publishes content while the vast majority are consumers only. This has been true for a long time. In fact, the forums on my sites over the years have always been a 95% read-only affair. Many view, few post.
The development community has a much more robust two-way audience. Its effectiveness is rooted in using the right tools, like TweetDeck, to follow not individuals, but hash tags and search terms that matter to you. You get and give help pretty quickly. There's a lot of re-tweet noise, unfortunately.
The bigger story is that it has finally achieved a more critical mass, making it useful by volume. So these days, yes, I'll admit that Twitter is useful if you cast out the attention whoring. Yesterday, I got RT'd by @scottgu, and within an hour, added 15 new followers. Can't argue with that as a means to get your words out. (Wonderfalls reference!)