Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Way To Use Twitter

“I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

“The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations” ~ Title of 2004 bestseller by James Surowiecki

I don't remember when Twitter first caught my eye. I saw it referenced in an online article, and whatever was said must have connected with me because I checked it out. If I remember correctly, the journalist seemed to be almost raving about this new social technology.

According to Wikipedia Twitter is a free micro-blogging service “that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default).”

It’s easy to do, hence its popularity. There are now purportedly 3.2 million accounts registered, though it’s anyone’s guess how many remain active.

Yes, I tweet. Essentially I’m trying to learn how to use or understand the uses of this new social networking tool, though an email this morning from a fellow tweeter indicated to me that I do not have my Twitter site optimized properly, or something like that. Obviously it is all a learning experience.

Anyways, when you log on, the Twitter interface has a single question that it asks: What are you doing?

It’s a very clever question. It’s a probe of sorts. Everyone who is watching the debate would state not only that they are watching the debate, but would include their feelings, impressions, thoughts about the said event. Some are participating in events (they can use their cell phones to text message their activities) and some are simply active in self-promotion.

It seems to be a great research tool because you can quickly and easily gather a wide range of viewpoints by plugging in to their tweets on various topics. Researchers and writers are able to set up their own mass of info sources, or plug into the automatic feeds on various topics that Twitter collates for you.

Here is an example which I extracted during Sunday’s Meet The Press program in which John McCain was interviewed by Tom Brokaw. Some might complain that it’s a bit jumbled, but despite the noise, when you compare this electronic equivalent of raw footage to the fragment of Larry Rohter’s review of the same show, the gist of what was happening and how it was perceived is not wholly divergent.

Note: Twitter users will notice that I’ve reversed the order of these entries so as to have the flow read coherently for the purposes of this blog entry.

breathmint Watching Brokaw hand McCain his ass on meet the press. 36 minutes ago

mainelife McCain is being crabby on Meet the Press, but he's not afraid to fire off a "my friends" while looking exasperated. 35 minutes ago

wiredbirds »» Meet the Press: McCain refers to Brokaw as "my friend", and is speaking to Brokaw like the man is an idiot. Brokaw knows the gig is up «« 34 minutes ago

SandiLincoln Ohhhh my! McCain on Meet The Press is getting very tough questions from Tom Brokaw. He is doing really bad! He is gettin pissy!! Flip Flopn! 34 minutes ago

yellowmello McCain is on meet the press and his hands and head are not the same color... can you say air brush. 33 minutes ago

JerryStanford Hey, been up for a couple of hours and listening to McCain on Meet the Press. Think I'll Sim a little. 32 minutes ago

SandiLincoln @maddow u watchn McCain on Meet The Press! He's gettn really pissed! (Love ur show btw)! 31 minutes ago

wiredbirds » Meet the Press: "I don't defend her - I praise her" - McCain on Palin [as she is stabbing the man in his 'obviously blind' back] «« 28 minutes ago

wiredbirds » Meet the Press: "We're both Mavericks" - McCain on Palin «« 26 minutes ago

area517 Watching McCain on Meet The Press. Looks very uneasy. 26 minutes ago

mainelife Take away from Meet The Press this morning: John McCain disagrees with the polls, the American people and it appears, reality. 25 minutes ago

realtortweet McCain on Meet the Press right now. He is very uneasy and more Bush like. I think he even said Joe the Biden. 24 minutes ago

wiredbirds » Meet the Press: McCain is ∙<-------- [this close] to losing it. « 22 minutes ago

gregwind Just can't watch any more Meet the Press with J McCain. Too painful. I feel really bad for him. (But recording, just in case.) 22 minutes ago

randomspaces Stunning McCain "senior moment" at 25 minutes into Meet the Press. Brokaw "Try to stay with me here." Get it on iTunes later if you miss it. 21 minutes ago

CanWeBowlPlease rt @mainelife Take away from Meet The Press this morning: John McCain disagrees with the polls, the American people and it appears, reality. 22 minutes ago

randomspaces Stunning McCain "senior moment" at 25 minutes into Meet the Press. Brokaw "Try to stay with me here." Get it on iTunes later if you miss it. 21 minutes ago

sgtret TwitterScoop word "brokaw" just grew rapidly. It would seem McCain is not having a good time of it on Meet the Press. 18 minutes ago

mwurzer Felt bad watching McCain on Meet The Press this morning. He should have been elected eight years ago. 17 minutes ago

To see how this peanut gallery of tweeters compares to the actual news story coverage, you can read this review:

McCain on ‘Meet the Press’
By Larry Rohter

Updated 11:58 a.m. Appearing on “Meet the Press” today Senator John MCain said he does not believe the polls that show him significantly trailing Senator Barack Obama and argued that “we’re going to do well in this campaign.”
“We are doing fine,” he said. “We have closed in the last week, and we’re going to continue this close in the next week.”
He also rejected the idea that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, his running mate, is hurting his campaign.
“I don’t defend her. I praise her. She needs no defense,” he said.

On a related topic, the latest use for Twitter has been revealed this week in an InformationWeek story titled, Terrorists Could Use Twitter For Mayhem, Army Report Muses

An intelligence paper outlines technologies that terrorist organizations could use to inflict harm, including cell phone GPS data, voice-changing technology, and Twitter updates.

By Thomas Claburn InformationWeek October 27, 2008 04:04 PM
"Terrorism and Twitter go together like Darth Vader and Tribbles -- the former aspiring to instill fear, the latter chirpy and not very threatening. Yet a draft Army intelligence paper, "Al Qaida-Like Mobile Discussions & Potential Creative Uses," contemplates just that combination."

All I know is... well, let's not go there.

In the meantime, if you're not a terrorist and you happen to be on Twitter, I invite you to follow me @ ennyman3.

1 comment:

ENNYMAN said...

Eight Ways Twitter Will Change Your Life... good article