Thursday, April 24, 2008

Twittering Into the Future

I've been playing with Twitter of late. You can find me there at FredatDreamtime if you're interested in me. You can also find me at DylanTweets if you're interested in Bob Dylan news. My geeky side is particularly proud of DylanTweets, which is automatically pulling content from the Dreamtime blog as I post it.

The fast 411 on Twitter is that it can be thought of as a real-time (or near real-time) micro-blog. You're limited to 140 characters per post. That's characters, not words, sharply restraining you to pithy statements. A lot of Twitter is of the "I'm eating a cheese sandwich" text message variety, but some of it can be very cool and interesting, depending on who you're following. "Following" at Twitter is essentially subscribing to someone's news. Every time they decide to inform the world they're noshing on another cheese sandwich, the message shows up on your Twitter home page.

While the question on whether Twitter is actually useful for someone like me remains to be seen, I have been going up the slow scale of awareness from "what is this thing good for except as a major productivity buster?" to the, "Hmm..." stage. Two examples.

One of the people I'm following on Twitter, is the tech pundit/writer, John C. Dvorak, who's a panelist on one of the podcasts I listen to, TwiT (no relation to Twitter). On Monday's show, Dvorak mentioned as an aside a coffee he purchases in San Francisco, whose name I couldn't make out. Someone else on Twitter asked Dvorak for the coffee machine he uses and I chimed in asking about the coffee. 20 minutes later I had my answer direct from the man himself.

So, consider, a podcast recorded on a Monday in California, listened to by Fred in New Hampshire on Tuesday. Fred contacts one of the panelists on Tuesday with a question, and has his answer within a half-hour.

Or consider this: Roger McGuinn, yes that Roger McGuinn, twitters. And if you had been following him on Twitter you would have read that Bruce Springsteen invited him backstage at his concert last night, and the two ended up on-stage doing Turn, Turn, Turn. And indeed a video of that duet is already on YouTube, which I'm not linking to, as the video quality is of the Cloverfield variety. But again, here I am sitting in New Hampshire, reading notes from a rock star in almost real time, and then watching a video of what he's talking about a few hours later.

In some ways we really are living in the future.

1 comment:

Allan said...

Welcome to Twitter! I think its fun as long as you don't follow too many people...it can get overwhelming.