Theory: Twitter is More Likely to Be Meaningful Than TV

Over the last two weeks I’ve interviewed people from 32 different companies working on building, leveraging or otherwise engaging with what’s called The Real-Time Web. It’s preparation for ReadWriteWeb’s forthcoming Real-Time Web Summit (I hope you’ll come) and a research report on the same topic.

Believe it or not, Twitter is not the primary topic of all these conversations (thank goodness) but it does come up a lot both literally and as a metaphor. Many of the conversations aren’t even about social networking, but many of them are. User experience and the streams through which real-time data often gets delivered are things I’ve been talking with people about a lot.

In one of those conversations, Kevin Marks (formerly of Technorati and Google, now at British Telecom) told me the following: he believes that Twitter is more likely to be interesting than television because we opt-in to particular streams of other peoples’ updates that we find interesting. That creates a positive feedback loop that encourages us to contribute something interesting in return and thus the ecosystem trends towards higher quality content. Do you agree with that?

Marks also said this was an advantage that Twitter and other opt-in subscription-stream formats have over things like YouTube comments. What of the “I don’t care what you ate for breakfast” critique of Twitter? Marks says that’s just people who have an antiquated view of what belongs “in public,” based on a time when content had to go through expensive publishing processes before being broadcast to the public and thus had to be unusually important to be worth it.

This is just one of several user experience related conversations I’ve been having about real-time streams, but I found it quite interesting. I like this theory. I’m not sure whether I agree with it or not (Kevin, let me know if I’ve mischaracterized what you meant) but I’d really like to know what others think.

I’m Loving Me Some Tungle, Bet You Would Too

I’ve been doing a mind numbing number of briefings with companies doing work on the real-time web since we announced the ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit, Research Report and Month of Special Focus yesterday at RWW. (By the way, check it out.) I found a wonderful service called that syncs with my Google calendar and allows other people to see when I’m busy or free in order to suggest meeting times. My calendar is here and I am SO appreciative of this service! I know there are other competitors out there, like TimeBridge for example but so far Tungle is doing the trick for me. Web apps like this remind me how a good app can solve a problem you hadn’t even realized you had. Check it out, it might rock your world too.

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Smart Twitter, Classic Twitter

I noticed two things about Twitter tonight. First, as part of the new site redesign there’s a new 404 (page not found) error message. It includes a search box – so if you guessed someone’s twitter name and got it wrong, you can search from them right there on that page! Brilliant. Sometimes it’s the little things.
The other thought I just had about Twitter was that it sure is nice when people post personal messages. I know a lot of people complain about mundane “what I’m eating for lunch” posts, but these really are status messages and are sometimes useful as such. I was just pinging my friend Beth Kanter on Skype and after she didn’t respond, I checked out her Twitter profile. (After I got her username wrong again, that is.) There I learned that today is Beth’s 23rd wedding anniversary! Congratulations, Beth and Husband. Thus I know not to expect a response from Beth tonight. Good old Twitter, doing its job as a way to share status messages. Keep those updates about your personal lives coming, Twitter friends!

30 People to Follow Regarding the Real Time Web – Who Else Should Be On This List?

I’m working on a list of Twitter users working on Real Time Web matters and realized once I hit 30 that I ought to just ask readers and friends for suggestions.


Here’s my list so far all in one place and easy to follow in one fell swoop thanks to the wonderful new service Tweepml. Please add more names of people who should be included in this list below in comments and everyone will thank you for it.