Twitter

I’m still trying to understand the premise behind Twitter.  It’s one of those projects that really caught on.  Twitter’s claim to fame is that they offer a way for people all over cyberspace to see what everybody else is up to.  The question is simple: what are you doing right now?

You can post a response (known as a “tweet”) to your Twitter page via the Twitter website, instant message, or third-party applications which support the Twitter API.  It seems like such a simple concept that who would really care to use this?

You’d be surprised.  Twitter went live in March 2006, and though its tough to find exact numbers around their user base, it grew substantially in the first half of 2007.  But why is it so interesting to hear that “I’m painting my bedroom” or “watching Friends re-runs” and sharing that with the entire world?  Who knows, but it certainly seems to encourage the type of behavior that leads to wasting lots of time. 

But there are some interesting dialogues that take place over Twitter.  Last week when Yahoo! was in the midst of layoffs, Ryan Kuder, a (now ex) Yahoo! employee twittered his entire experience from getting the call to pack up his office, to the end of the day turning in his badge and his final campus latte.  You can read “Getting Fired At Yahoo: A Twitter Log” over at Silicon Alley Insider.  It’s pretty interesting and makes the Twitter concept a little more intriguing.

So, last week I signed up for a Twitter account to give it a try.  I was more interested in evaluating the API to see if I could find something useful to use it for.  In a couple of nights, I wrote a Windows Mobile application for my phone to be able to send tweets from wherever I was at at any given moment based on the Twitter API and a wrapper that needed to be reworked a little to run with Windows Mobile.  I’m not sure how active I will be as a Twitterer, but I had to see what it was all about.