Tag Archives: stowe boyd

Twitter is way better than anything else

I love you Twitter. You are the new hotness. I don’t care what other people say about you. I don’t even care if my business partner thinks that time apart from you is beneficial. This is your time, your moment.

Heck, even US News loves you. You recently made the list of “50 ways to improve your life”. And, in so doing you were called: “increasingly popular and addictive”. (yep, found via twitter thru @tigerninety and written by @papertrailblog).

Now even the celebrities love you. Your newest friends are @jimmyfallon, @tinafey, @mchammer, @greggrunberg, @al_gore, @the_real_shaq, @lancearmstrong, @breagrant, @johncleese, and my personal favorite @hodgman.

If that wasn’t enough, all of your competitors are just not cutting it. Each one goes for your jugular only to settle for some small piece of the pie. You are even rumored to be on your second round of funding in a deep recession. That is because you are way better than anything else.

This is partly due to being the first on the block (which I am not even sure you were). It’s also partly due to your simplicity. But, and I mean but, I attribute your success to a little discussed fact.

You are the first great success of the mobile web. Your predecessor is the Blackberry. The mobile device that brought mobile email to painstaking heights of popularity and necessity (/wave prez obama). Your successor may come around, but until it does, you are king of the mobile web hill.

Now that you are in that moment, all of your detractors are singing death and destruction mightily. Clinging to anything that will allow them to avoid your wiles. You are not the fad, silly tool they think you are. You are not just a mobile facebook or a place for “extraverts to lord over the intraverts”. Nor are you just a place for “social media experts” to bask in their own glory.

What you really are is harder to say. As the first true child of the mobile web you are changing the game as you play it. Your question of “what are you doing right now?” is not even important anymore. None of your strongest users even answer that question anymore. They have moved onto taking the richness of their lives and posting that instead. They post photos, links, jokes, pithy thoughts, dinner plans, current events, conversations, and they create accounts for their animals (<3 @fuzzles).

That would be impressive all by its lonesome. It would be extremely impressive for a “website”. But one cannot talk about your glory without talking about your inextricable connection with mobility. As @stoweboyd once told me, mobility is the future of the web. We are no longer sitting at our “command center” with our clunky desktop. We are on the go and joining that “world consciousness” that my roommate surmises is the next evolution in our spirituality.

This mobility is really the hardest to explain. It is, well, umm, just amazing. It is incredible. Ok, I’m obvsiously struggling to define this, so instead let me tell you a story. A weird story, really, but it resonates with me and stirs up fondness for you:

There I was walking down the street and right as I took a step into the street, a car comes flying by. It was going fast, I mean real fast for the city, like 60-70mph. Which is death defying speeds in Washington DC, where blocks are tiny and going 40 feels like ur flying. In an instant I step back before 3 cop cars come flying down after this perp. What an amazing moment. Witness a car chase. Nearly die. Contemplate life and being lucky. What do I do with this moment?

In the “old world” I would call a close friend and bore them with this simple story. Or, I could go home and write a journal entry exploring my life and how lucky I am to be alive. Yeah, been there done that.

In the world of Twitter, I share the moment. I instantly share the moment with hundreds of friends. I feel relieved, I feel a community, and I don’t feel alone in a panicked moment. I get multiple replies instantly too.

Strange, I know. But, in that moment I realized what the mobile web meant to me. It was an instant connection. A tie with the world at large that never existed before. An ability to stay connected anytime with everyone important in my life.

Let’s utilize some academia for this point. Have you heard of the “aggregate phenomenon”?

The Japanese sociologist Mizuko Ito first noticed it with mobile phones: lovers who were working in different cities would send text messages back and forth all night — tiny updates like “enjoying a glass of wine now” or “watching TV while lying on the couch.” They were doing it partly because talking for hours on mobile phones isn’t very comfortable (or affordable). But they also discovered that the little Ping-Ponging messages felt even more intimate than a phone call. [1]
That’s right: “felt even more intimate”. These silly little messages bring me closer to my friends/family.
“It’s an aggregate phenomenon,” Marc Davis, a chief scientist at Yahoo and former professor of information science at the University of California at Berkeley, told me. “No message is the single-most-important message. It’s sort of like when you’re sitting with someone and you look over and they smile at you. You’re sitting here reading the paper, and you’re doing your side-by-side thing, and you just sort of let people know you’re aware of them.” [1]

Let’s just break the space/time continuum and let me connect with my family back in California and my friends in cities all over the world.

Finally, the capstone for this love story. Time. It’s so valuable. I just don’t have enough of it for everyone in my life. Twitter, without you there would be no way for me to maintain my Dunbar number (a theory that humans can only maintain a max of 150 social relationships) let alone the 500+ people I connect with regularly.

But, with you I can and do. I develop bonds with over 500+ people on a consistent basis. I do it with little or no effort. I even save time. Which allows me to turn around and spend that time on more quality things in my life. Like pretty girls or writing inane posts on this site.

Written by the @robotchampion