Wed 16 April 2008 @ 09:41
Its very interesting to me how our obsessions with technology become so all encompassing. I should probably re-phrase that: I sometimes wonder just how obsessive I need to be to keep up with things that are happening on the Internet. I find the rate of development and change sometimes to be too much to keep up with. Let me share with you a case in point, and the trigger for this post.
I use Twitter, which is a very popular micro-blogging service. It allows me to write concise blog entries in a very short format (like text messaging on phones). Twitter limits you to posting no more than 140 characters, so you sometimes have to be creative to limit ideas to such a concise format. You also get to see the entries (tweets) of people you have chosen to follow, and these networks of followers can rapidly get pretty big. Keeping on top of it all sometimes is harder to do than you would think. There's a lot of noise on Twitter, and not much decent signal. However, there are some excellent sources of information on there if you search hard enough.
Twitter has an open API which allows developers to build programs that interface with Twitter. I use a couple of those to keep track of what is going on : WittyTwitter, and Twhirl. WittyTwitter is a program I have done some development with, and have submitted a couple of bug fixes to the code. I'm not all that active in developing it, but I use it a lot and follow its development closely. For the last two days I have been getting errors with Witty. It can't log in to Twitter, probably because of a bug in the Twitter API endpoints. I also haven't been in front of my PC as much as usual.
This means I have actually missed some information that has been disseminated over Twitter for the last couple of days. It wasn't much, but there was one product announcement that interested me, and it is something that I need to be aware of from a development perspective. Here's the catch. At the end of the second paragraph I went to grab some lunch. I have returned now and I can't even remember what the product was that prompted me to write this post. The concept remain the same though.
The interesting thing is that tools like Twitter can exert such an unconscious draw on you (me actually). I wonder what would happen if I were to stop using Twitter for a while? Someone I follow (a gifted and popular cartoon artist called Hugh MacLeod) decided to stop using Twitter recently, and discovered that too many of his customers actually RELY on Twitter for their business communication. It doesn't say much for the state of a business that relies on something as ephemeral as Twitter. I'm also not sure about the wisdom either of using such a public forum for business, and certainly not one like Twitter where you have no oversight of the content nor control over its maintenance etc. However, I could see tools like Twitter becoming more and more used by business as time goes on. After all, many businesses now have a presence in Second Life; the trendy virtual world operated by Linden Labs.