I admit, I didn’t understand Twitter when it first came out. I still wasn’t sold on the second wave of popularity. In fact, the blogosphere never sold me on Twitter. So why am I now using it regularly?
It needed to be local for me. Once a few of the developers in my office started using it, I payed more attention to my own account. Now it’s more addictive than Facebook. Although for similar reasons.
The difference is that you can follow someone on Twitter without needing to establish friendship. Thus I can quote one of my heros:
duncan: I’ve decided I dislike using Twitter as a replacement for Chat. Chat’s TCP. I liked Twitter for being UDP.
The UDP/TCP distinction completely nails it for me. Twitter is all about broadcast. Chat is better for exactly that, chatting.
The whole status thing has been done before, the status message in MSN, the status in Facebook. The catch is that they are all walled gardens and require a two way relationship to be established.
The benefit of a low barrier to subscription to broadcast is that anyone can follow updates. This means that you hear things on Twitter before they get anywhere else.
It feels more dynamic.
It is the backchannel for the internet.
(Hat tip to Tony for the selling)