Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseThe recent rollout of a new twitter application - Qwitter - which emails you alerts of the latest unfollows on your twitter stream and may even provoke some introspection by showing after which tweet exactly the unfollow occurred - has stirred quite a bit of interest. From the conversation I've seen on twitter and friendfeed, more people signed up for it than I expected - although perhaps my perspective is skewed as they were mostly early adopters. To me, Qwitter offers three possibilities:
1. Masochistic torturing of self for more sensitive types who wonder what was it about their particular tweet/tweeting habits that prompted the unsubscribe
2. An opportunity for introspection and self-improvement for the earnest, analytical types. They might enjoy picking apart the possible elements of their tweet/tweeting habits that offended.
3. People who simply do not care about what people think about them/their tweets and sign up for the service for the heck of it, or to keep track of their numbers

Of course, there's always a fourth possibility.

Personally, I don't really need to know who unfollows me and why - I'm a cross between types 1 and 2 and the internal speculation might just kill me. This post prompted me to think a bit more about the nature of twitter though - in it, Leslie Poston talks about how she chooses to use twitter, with an accompanying 'ebb and flow' of her follower count. To her, unfollows are not personal and twitter provides for free and easy interaction.

The attraction of twitter for me lies in the loose and casual relationships that can be formed between its users and how open it is. Barring the use of the ban feature, anyone from students to CEOs can be followed and have conversation initiated with. It's a great networking tool. The ability of such twitter bots as breakingnewson and cnnbrk to scoop traditional media sources is also unmatched.

I know that for most of my friends, twitter would hold little if no attraction, as they are generally only interested in keeping up with 'real-life' friends and at least for my circle, the critical mass is simply not present on twitter as it is on facebook. If they were using the service, I imagine that quite a lot of them would have their updates protected. To them, twitter might be useful as status updates on steroids.

In pondering the personal relevancy of twitter, I came across this presentation which shows some possible responses.

What is it about the nature of twitter that has made it attractive to you?

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