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Men who like to hear themselves talk?
June 2, 2009 1:00 PM   Subscribe

The top 10% of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets. Twitter is dominated by men, whereas other social networks tend to be dominated by women. Is Twitter biased towards men?
posted by desjardins (153 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's biased towards people who love to talk about themselves.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:02 PM on June 2, 2009 [22 favorites]


So...yes?
posted by total warfare frown at 1:03 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


There's even a new search engine that combines Google and Twitter. Meet Twootles.
posted by netbros at 1:05 PM on June 2, 2009


Tweets of Hate: The Twitter posts of anti-abortion fanatics.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:05 PM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


It is dominated by twits.
Next: Are Tupperware® parties biased towards women?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:07 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


In that "Twitter is dominated by men," it compared only SMS tweets. Really, it only shows that men are more likely to update Twitter by text message than women. The first link said that 55% of users are female.

I just go to the damned site and post if I feel like it. I'm not paying T-Mobile 20 cents to update my Twitter feed.
posted by explosion at 1:08 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ugh, I didn't realize the last link was so sexist in tone, though I believe the main point still stands, that men tend to communicate more briefly than do women, hence the appeal of Twitter. Maybe one of our linguistics experts can provide a better link.
posted by desjardins at 1:09 PM on June 2, 2009


I'm trying to think of a new technology that was as passionately hated upon its introduction as Twitter is hated by those who hate it.

Not coming up with anything.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:10 PM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh god, twootles is the worst name ever.
posted by desjardins at 1:10 PM on June 2, 2009


*Pulls string on GI Joe doll*

"Facebook is hard!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on June 2, 2009 [37 favorites]


They don't specify what population those statistics about vocabulary apply to, though lets say it's North American adults. The Twitter population is a group of hardcore net-addicts obviously drawn out of internet users generally, itself a very unusual population. I'd be willing to bet that the gap in language use narrows quite a bit with increased education and wealth (blue collar joe is likely to be less articulate than blue collar suzy, but white collar joe and suzy are probably about the same), both characteristics (I'm betting) make you much more likely to tweet.

The stats are drawn from this book, which is not without it's detractors.
posted by phrontist at 1:12 PM on June 2, 2009


I don't understand why anyone would give a damn about something like this.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:13 PM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


I was going to respond to Chocolate Pickle, but then I saw it was Chocolate Pickle.
posted by desjardins at 1:16 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Not coming up with anything.

Second Life. And the haters were right.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:17 PM on June 2, 2009 [10 favorites]


I would say Furcadia has some pretty staunch detractors. I came home to visit my parents for a holiday and saw that my eight-year-old brother was playing Furcadia.
After a while some of the other cute little animals started saying some funny stuff to him about 'yiffing' and so on, so I had to call over my Internet-naive parents and explain a few things to them. Talk of awkward.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:20 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Not coming up with anything.

Olestra
posted by gurple at 1:21 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


And come on, we all knew Second Life was going to turn into a hideout for Otherkin and the boytaur handfoot fetishists.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:23 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Peak Twitter?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:27 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Olestra

People loved that shit until they got the shits that shit gave them.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:27 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Are men responsible for the bulk of text-messaging on cellphones? If not, why would the same limit matter on Twitter? If so, perhaps this is gender determined.
posted by OmieWise at 1:27 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Since it's the only social network not dominated by women, it's obviously biased towards men.

WTF?
posted by Afroblanco at 1:30 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


And come on, we all knew Second Life was going to turn into a hideout for Otherkin and the boytaur handfoot fetishists.

Well, we all hoped it would. At least I did.

Seriously though, I'm starting to hear how every business should be on Twitter and it's exactly the same song as "every business needs to be in Second Life." And it's bullshit. Twitter is kinda fun. That's it. It is in no way revolutionary (or even evolutionary in any meaningful way), and we'll be scratching our heads in a couple of years, wondering what the hell all the fuss was about.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:31 PM on June 2, 2009 [10 favorites]


Men talk as much as women.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 1:33 PM on June 2, 2009


Ugh, I didn't realize the last link was so sexist in tone

That's OK, it's only sexist towards men. Less-than-minuscule chance of a callout.
posted by splice at 1:33 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The first link, from the Harvard Business School, specifically states that "both men and women tweet at the same rate," and as their sample seems more inclusive than the SMS-only sample in the second link, I have to question the validity of Nielsen's claim that Twitter is dominated by males.

And I'm sorry, perhaps it is just my bias as an academic, but I am always skeptical of market research, especially when it is conducted on behalf of industries that have vested interest in certain kinds of results.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 1:34 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's so funny how hip it is to hate twitter. I love twitter.

Even though it's just a crazy, testosterone-fueled boyzone over there.
posted by iconomy at 1:36 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Link by link:

Link 1: Twitter follows Zipf's law? Wow gee, no surprises there. At this point, a communications medium that doesn't follow Zipf's law would be news.

Link 2: Twitter is "dominated" by men to the tune of 57%? Color me underwhelmed.

Link 3: Over a year old, uses "Web 2.0" in the lead paragraph, and offers no support for sweeping claims.

Link 4: Folk wisdom and broad claims made from poor evidence, coupled with something about search engine optimization. I can't tell what the writer's point is.

desjardins: While there are certainly differences in the ways that men and women use language, it's not clear how much or to what degree. Those differences appear to be very much dependent on medium, mode, context and background of the persons involved. Pre-web electronic social networks tended to show the reverse pattern with men contributing more posts and more words per post. In my own research, I found few gender differences, but that was with elementary school children.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:36 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


From the heading of your "biased" link: "Conversational SEO and Social Media Marketing build online relationships."
posted by grobstein at 1:38 PM on June 2, 2009


Yeah, there is something really funky going on when one method is turning up women as a majority, while another method is turning up men as a majority.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:41 PM on June 2, 2009


Yeah, I see this all the time. Let's make a front in Second Life! We need RSS feeds, they're the hot new thing! Google Wave appears and the question arises, "How can we use Google Wave in our organization?"

SHINY OBJECTS MUST GRAB
posted by adipocere at 1:42 PM on June 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


I don't understand why anyone would give a damn about something like this.
posted by Chocolate Pickle
I was going to respond to Chocolate Pickle, but then I saw it was Chocolate Pickle.
posted by desjardins


It's sure cute how you two talk in short little messages.

Damn, now it's got me.
posted by rokusan at 1:42 PM on June 2, 2009


In related news-- Study: Young adults haven't warmed up to Twitter
"In spite of all the press, only 22 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds questioned in a survey say they use the microblogging service."
posted by ericb at 1:47 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


If Twitter is biased toward men, then perhaps social networks (FaceLift et al) are biased toward women...
I asked my grandmother if she used either and she asked: What would henry David Thoreau use?
posted by Postroad at 1:48 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not coming up with anything.

DRM.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:50 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thank god, ericb. I'm bracing for the onslaught of the MySpace crowd.
posted by desjardins at 1:50 PM on June 2, 2009


While there are certainly differences in the ways that men and women use language, it's not clear how much or to what degree. Those differences appear to be very much dependent on medium, mode, context and background of the persons involved.

For those who are interested, Susan Herring at Indiana University has done quite a lot of research on gender differences in language use in a variety of online contexts.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 1:51 PM on June 2, 2009


me, I don't hate Twitter, sice it turns out that if you strip all the crap off of Facebook and leave just the status updates it makes for a useful primitive chat platform. But certainly, if i was onthe outside looking in and just heard about all the celeb-following and hashtags and mobbing and all that other crap people use it for I could see it would annoy the piss out of me.

Last link even uses one of those crappy steamgraph things, that would make for a real red-mist combination of hate.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Postroad: "I asked my grandmother if she used either and she asked: What would henry David Thoreau use?"

Friendster.
posted by mullingitover at 1:53 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Next: Are Tupperware® parties biased towards women?

If Tupperware parties focused more on the satisfying feeling of accomplishment that comes from "burping" the lids, men would be flocking to them.
posted by amyms at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please come see my band, Second Life Flash Mob.
posted by snofoam at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love Twitter. And it seems to me that about 75% of the people I follow (not coincidentally like about 75% of the people in my profession, who are the main people I use Twitter to follow) are female.

Anecdata. But Twitter sure doesn't feel 'male' to me. And I'm not really sure how anyone could 'dominate' in a system where you define who you listen to.
posted by Miko at 1:55 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Miko: Now I'm curious about the gender ratio of those I follow/who follow me. The problem is that I don't know the gender of some of them. Hell, I was convinced that I was following a white woman from New Zealand who turned out to be an Asian American male (sorry if I got your ethnicity wrong, I'm guessing based on pics).
posted by desjardins at 1:59 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


The profile pics are useful for one thing...

Hey sexy lady profile picture with sexy lady name who is now following me, EAT INSTANT BLOCK YOU SPAMMY FUCKER.
posted by Artw at 2:02 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's so funny how hip it is to hate twitter. I love twitter.

Oh man I'm finally hip. Most of the time I hate things that are the new hip thing everyone is doing, because I'm a grouch. For once I'm on the right side of history.

I have a good friend that loves all this new stuff and he was telling me all about twitter back when it was first getting started. I can't even remember all the new things he would tell me about from week to week. "It's a tumblelog" he would explain about something or other. I got in the habit of coming up with "new" web ideas that I would run by him.

One was a site I would call "Stoopid" You could add Stoopid links to your user page and invite all your Stoopid friends update your Stoopid page, it would be a tumblelog probably. It would be just like VOX or something it would be like flickr but with pictures. You know, redundant but more important it would be new and you'd really want one of the invites for the beta.

I don't really hate, I'm just old and out of touch.
posted by nola at 2:03 PM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


If someone made Twitafilter, where you could follow mefites and receive all their comments as text messages, would you sign up? (not asking anyone in particular)
posted by snofoam at 2:04 PM on June 2, 2009


#condomfish hey lets all do the #condomfish hashtag again.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on June 2, 2009


"I'm trying to think of a new technology that was as passionately hated upon its introduction as Twitter is hated by those who hate it."

Pop unders, MySpace, blink tag, Autoplaying embedded music, GPL.

I don't know when the first EMACS vs VI flame war erupted but I bet it didn't post date EMACS by all that much time.
posted by Mitheral at 2:08 PM on June 2, 2009


#meh
posted by fixedgear at 2:10 PM on June 2, 2009


"I'm trying to think of a new technology that was as passionately hated upon its introduction as Twitter is hated by those who hate it."

Vista, Zune, Bing...
posted by Artw at 2:10 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


#mehn
posted by snofoam at 2:10 PM on June 2, 2009


nola: "I got in the habit of coming up with "new" web ideas that I would run by him. One was a site I would call "Stoopid" You could add Stoopid links to your user page and invite all your Stoopid friends update your Stoopid page, it would be a tumblelog probably. It would be just like VOX or something it would be like flickr but with pictures. You know, redundant but more important it would be new and you'd really want one of the invites for the beta."

I would like to discuss a venture capital arrangement with you. Check your MeFi mail.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:10 PM on June 2, 2009


If someone made Twitafilter, where you could follow mefites and receive all their comments as text messages, would you sign up? (not asking anyone in particular)

I actually only caved and signed up for a Twitter account back in January during the Great Metafilter Outage of 2009. The first people I followed were other Mefites, mostly. But I also only signed up because you can now use Twitter entirely through a web interface, if you want. I would never pay for SMS updates from anyone, sorry.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 2:11 PM on June 2, 2009


Among Twitter users, the median number of lifetime tweets per user is one.

You know, that's probably normal for almost all social-networky-bloggy type things.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on June 2, 2009


For those who are interested, Susan Herring at Indiana University has done quite a lot of research on gender differences in language use in a variety of online contexts.

Yes, if you are really interested in this sort of thing, Herring's work is a great starting point. (Shameless plug of former mentor and colleague.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:13 PM on June 2, 2009


Would Gary Cooper have loved Twitter?

Yup.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:13 PM on June 2, 2009


(Shameless plug of former mentor and colleague.)

Fine . . . just as long as she's not your, you know, mother.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


whimsicalnymph Men talk as much as women.

I know it doesn't mention it in that link, but when I first saw that study (at least I assume it was the same study, it had come to the same results) One noticeable difference was that a far larger portion of men's words were spoken during the course of work, and were explicitly work related. In fact men's jobs tended to require more spoken words, things like direct managers and one to one sales people tend to use a whole lot of words a day for their job.

When you look at the number of words spoken purely for socialization/recreation whatever then women did in fact talk significantly more. So while it is true the total number of words spoken was close, men regularly chose to speak less and were more comfortable speaking less except when it was required of them to earn their living. The jobs they chose tended to be selected based on the financial rewards, with having to speak more was generally not considered a bonus. A fact that often caused men to place a much higher value on the privilege of not having to talk in the off time.

So yes men talk as much as women, but not in the same way. So while these studies seem to undermine the 'women talk more then men' they really reaffirm the stereotype that women 'gab, chat, gossip, whatever, socialize' more then men.
posted by Jezztek at 2:16 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


iPhones probably have a similar rage inducing effect.

hey, did I mention that iPhones and Twitter go really, really well together?
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


As we speak, the Twitter graphic design team is working on coloring the Fail Whale a cloyingly cute shade of pink.
posted by naju at 2:17 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Talk of awkward.

I would, but I'm afraid I only talk about things. I have been known, however, to on occasion speak of something or other.

;-)
posted by adamdschneider at 2:20 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


For folks who say they abhor Twitter so much, mefites sure love to come back over and over and post about it ad nauseam.
posted by blucevalo at 2:20 PM on June 2, 2009


Twitgeist is the new gestalt.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:21 PM on June 2, 2009


OK, anecdata time:

I follow 122 accounts. 41% male, 29% female, 22% blogs/news/feeds, and 8% unknown gender.

142 people follow me. 40% male, 29% female, 18% blogs/news/feeds, and 13% unknown.

Obviously there is a lot of overlap between who follows me and who I follow, so not much of a surprise that the percentages are so close. I was surprised to see I follow more men than women - BUT, among those I follow, I think the men generally talk less, so that's why I thought I followed more women. I'm not ambitious enough to verify that, though.
posted by desjardins at 2:23 PM on June 2, 2009


I thought men were Twitters and women were Twatters...
posted by Houyhnhnm at 2:23 PM on June 2, 2009


Would Gary Cooper have loved Twitter?

Yup.


Super-duper!
posted by educatedslacker at 2:25 PM on June 2, 2009


I guess here is the place for me to say that I've had a twitter account for a while now, and I've tried to like it, but I'm really just not feeling it. I have this vague sense that maybe I'm doing it wrong, and a slightly stronger, but still vague, sense that I just don't care.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:26 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess here is the place for me to say that I've had a twitter account for a while now, and I've tried to like it, but I'm really just not feeling it.

It will come in handy when you're in the midst of a terrorist attack or something so others can get a rough sense of what's happening before the news cameras can get in there.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:31 PM on June 2, 2009


I have this vague sense that maybe I'm doing it wrong

I had a false start with Twitter where I tried it, found it uninteresting, and joined the hatewagon. But then I went to a conference where I found out a lot of people I consider interesting in my working life are using it. That, coupled with finding out that a lot of my favorite local characters/businesses are also on it has totally swayed me. Now I'm pretty hooked and getting a lot out of it. It completely depends on who you follow.
posted by Miko at 2:39 PM on June 2, 2009


I'm trying to think of a new technology that was as passionately hated upon its introduction as Twitter is hated by those who hate it.

Not coming up with anything.


Zyklon B?

Although, I suppose, it was only really passionately hated later.
posted by WalterMitty at 2:45 PM on June 2, 2009


Among Twitter users, the median number of lifetime tweets per user is one.

You know, that's probably normal for almost all social-networky-bloggy type things.

As a point of comparison, I have some InfoDump data from March 5, 2008, and it shows:

-15, 511 users had ever commented on MeFi (out of 67,602 registered users at the time)
-Median MeFi comments = 13, mode = 1, average = 127.61

-13, 178 users had ever commented on AskMe
-Median AskMe comments = 16, mode = 1, average = 83.06
posted by DiscourseMarker at 2:46 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


New Coke
posted by Burhanistan at 2:47 PM on June 2, 2009


As Conan O'Brien's "first guest ever" last night on the Tonight Show, I think Will Ferrell got it right:
"Forget Twitter, I'm on the CB. Twitter's not going anywhere."
posted by ericb at 2:49 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know it doesn't mention it in that link, but when I first saw that study (at least I assume it was the same study, it had come to the same results) One noticeable difference was that a far larger portion of men's words were spoken during the course of work, and were explicitly work related. In fact men's jobs tended to require more spoken words, things like direct managers and one to one sales people tend to use a whole lot of words a day for their job.

Um, source? Because the study that did bother to assess differences in regards to talkativeness in context found that women were only significantly more talkative in phone conversation (source.) While the study did find structural differences in language use, Mehl concludes "on the basis of available empirical evidence, that the widespread and highly publicized stereotype about female talkativeness is unfounded." (source) Of course the relevance of this in regards to a radically different communications mode is dubious. We know that men dominated bitnet, usenet and early mailing lists in both number of posts and number of words. It's a pretty reasonable assumption that they dominate game-centered communication modes.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:51 PM on June 2, 2009


Fads. They Come And They Go.
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK, that's 4 posts tagged 'twitter' in the past two days, 15 posts since the beginning of May. Unless you're nuts about Twitter, can all of this twittering about Twitter possibly matter to anyone? And if you are nuts about Twitter, shouldn't you be there twittering or something right now?
posted by pracowity at 2:54 PM on June 2, 2009


just tweet it and move on, pracowity.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:55 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Twippwerware!™
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:56 PM on June 2, 2009


People Try Twitter One Month, Then Fly
"It's good to know I am not alone: Many other people use Twitter a few times and can't think of a good reason to come back. With all the hype about Twitter's 140-character version of living, I'd gotten the impression that I'm the only one on Twitter who doesn't get why Twitter matters.

Not so, according to Nielsen data that shows 60 percent of people who use Twitter one month, even at its peak popularity, don't come back the next. While it used to be that 70 stayed away that improvement is not much to brag about--Twitter's customer retention is prone to peaks and valleys."
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on June 2, 2009


A few things keep me on Twitter: my work blocks most other social networks, I ain't paying for SMS updates, I follow some funny people who make good use of the short joke-length form, and yeah, spam blocking is super easy; no one can make you read so much as a post title until you ok them.

Facebook I am on out of necessity (family and friends there) but I hate it, truly. It is fugly and stashes my profile info in stupid ways, and all the sending of little "gifts" and "kisses" and games and annoying as hell surveys brings on the hate. Stupid Facebook. Twitter is restful in comparison.
posted by emjaybee at 2:59 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


60 percent of people who use Twitter one month, even at its peak popularity, don't come back the next.

that's probably because the statements on their phone plans come in a monthly cycle.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:01 PM on June 2, 2009


Do you get people who have your email address but chose to use facebook mail as their means off communication with you anyway? I hate those guys.
posted by Artw at 3:01 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


"For folks who say they abhor Twitter so much, mefites sure love to come back over and over and post about it ad nauseam," blucevalo.

Yeah, I read it as a personal affront every time I see the sniping too. No one is forcing people to use it. If you don't see the value in it don't do it. Do you see me making fun of all the people on meta that just need to get laid?

It's almost like metafilter found a minority group to pick on. You know, sense we're too enlightened to pick on fat people and smokers.

But a few people here use it. Wanks all I am sure.

I posted a thread the other day that I thought was pretty cool, and I am pretty convinced it's lack of reaction was due to the fact that I linked to a twitter account. Gasp, horror, but it's probably not going anywhere in the short term, but hate away if it makes you feel superior.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:01 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Are people really using Twitter with SMS that much? that seems... weird.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on June 2, 2009


I posted a thread the other day that I thought was pretty cool, and I am pretty convinced it's lack of reaction was due to the fact that I linked to a twitter account.

I'm pretty certain that it's down to furry-hate.
posted by Artw at 3:04 PM on June 2, 2009


People Try Twitter One Month, Then Fly

I have AIM & email addresses for everyone I follow on Twitter, and phone numbers for the majority of them. It's turned out to be utterly useless to me as a means of communication. I think I've stayed almost purely for the vanity. That, & I've sorta made it a challenge to see if I can find some use for it -- turns out to be a good sketchpad for random thoughts I might otherwise lose, or forget which computer I saved them on. But mostly, people are supposed to love my random thoughts.

Data point: I talk a lot.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:04 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jezztek: The study I linked to was done with college students, so the environment for men and women was the same. Therefore the presupposition that woman talk = gossip and man talk = business talk, does not hold.

Where is the study to which you are referring?
posted by whimsicalnymph at 3:06 PM on June 2, 2009


Twitter seems to have come along at the exact moment people (men?) discovered they can amass invisible, gyrating, sexy-rich empires by being "social media consultants." I have to imagine that at least half of them see themselves as crafty "boardwalk 2.0" pitchmen, constantly reinventing themselves in order to be caught blurting the right thing at the right time (and then what?)

There are female social media consultants. Maybe they even make up the majority. Maybe (not that these are related) this is a legitimate field that I just reject automatically and without proper examination. But it seems like these numbers might be explained by the proliferation of twitterers (mostly, in my experience, men) who use twitter to say things they know are not interesting but appear to appeal to the broadest number of people, whose attention they collect greedily and without bias.

That being said, I do think the best use of twitter is as a smart, personalized rss feed for people interested in specific endeavors. Tuning is everything. I don't think, therefore, twitter will go away, but just evolve into something (somehow) less incendiary.
posted by theefixedstars at 3:09 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have the insider data on my cat and 71 percent of his active followers (willing to track on facebook) are female. Then again, he's a cat, and that's followers, not twittering. My cat is male and so am I.

Far and away, his followers are from the US and England a distant second, and the median ages are 18-44, with the most at 25-34.

Thank goodness I haven't been a metafilter story up to this point. Let's keep it that way. I'll answer questions about the cat here, of course, along with the usual dreary jabs and snark that make Metafilter so great/predictable.
posted by jscott at 3:09 PM on June 2, 2009


Are people really using Twitter with SMS that much? that seems... weird.

On occasion, if I'm out and about. The browser on my phone sucks ass, and I have a halfway decent txting plan. Sometimes I don't necessarily want to give someone my phone number, but they can direct message me on Twitter and I'll get it on my phone. Also, I was meeting a group of people and the bar was not where I thought it was, so I tweeted its location (behind a shop) so people could find it. Much faster than calling a bunch of people or texting them all.
posted by desjardins at 3:09 PM on June 2, 2009


New favorite game: replace the word "Twitter" with the word "blogs" in all the cranky responses. It's like Usenet cranks circa '99!
posted by droob at 3:12 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


#condomfish @artw you had me at hashtag.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:12 PM on June 2, 2009


the presupposition that woman talk = gossip and man talk = business talk, does not hold.

sure it does; only you need to understand business talk to mean "how can i get laid, stat?" while gossip is "who is screwing who?".
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:14 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The stats are drawn from this book, which is not without it's detractors.

I hated that book. It was pretty much 300 pages of "her brain is bathed in estrogen and his brain is bathed in testosterone, which makes her like this, and him like that, amirite, ladies?"
posted by zinfandel at 3:14 PM on June 2, 2009


I heard that Pawlenty wasn't going to running for a third term as MN governor on Twitter today, before it hit any other media. I guarantee you, that's where 90 percent of the MN media heard about it first too.

I feel like I'm back at college radio, spinning records that nobody else will know about for years. Except, in this case, I'm getting the news that everybody else will know tomorrow.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:19 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've started suddenly to like Twitter. I used to hate it. But here are a few thoughts:


How to watch words on Twitter

I suspect Twitter is a good linguistic tool. You should be able to observe words in the wild. Which wild? Well, we know its Twitter, but there is no particular reason to suppose that one wild is much better than another. Fact it, it is a bit of a jungle, and people are actively using language and it doesn't look like sentences. But you can study individual words, and do some cross-sectional research.

Case 1: Umbrage

Searching on the word Umbrage shows it to be a bit of a special case. Quite a lot of the tweets are mentioning, rather than using, the word. So it documents the edge of language. This word is special, rare, considered fun, and means different things to different people. Prepositions vary too. Umbrage at, Umbrage to, etc.

Notes:

The severe text constraint is a rare formal pressure on language. Language can grow around something like that. Language shifts and changes. You can see wierd changes in how it works: as well as evoking an image, you can include one! So if I think of something visually phenomenal, I can create a flat image, or increasingly even a moving image, and "say" that. Twitpic, and the auxiliary services contribute to the expresivity of the language, even as the word structure becomes barer, more austere.

Case 2: Lexical proximity

Salvation and Salivation are very close lexically, and amusingly juxtapositioned with respect to associations. I first met the pair in an amusing student error: (insert salvation/salivation quote here). Then I met it again, as the new Terminator movie is called Terminator Salvation, and Savage Chickens did a cartoon about the pair (a drooling robot), and I met it a third time somewhere else. Now I do a twitter search and I can see other instances of the juxtaposition. Many others. Many think it is humorous. None of them realise they are just manifestations of this peculiar lexical coincidence. Of course its complicated, because over 90% of them are actually carried by the film thing, so once that dies down, as it will, the lexical coincidence will be harder to find. Those that aren't about Terminator, are mostly about Pavlov, as was mine.

Coincidentally, I am looking at Twitter as the stone pharisee. My search for the lexical coincidence led me to one Fred Cummins, and his comments on students. But my tweet as fcummins had not actually written the two words together. A commenter did. He pointed out the obvious pun, but in so doing, he made it sufficiently explicit to be picked up by the big association engine that is Twitter. In other words, it fell into the sample. That suggests that this is a good way to sample language.

Case 3: Prophet

Most usages of 'prophet', oddly enough, do not refer to Muhammad. Most refer to various DJs, bikes, and the like.

Exercise 1:
SEE HEE YOUU WHAT THE FUCK IS HE SINGIN SMH LMAO DA RNB SHIT THEY COME OUT WIT DO IT DO IT DO IT TO YOU LMAO DAS CORNY

Analysis of this is left as an exercise to the reader. This is what language sometimes looks like.
posted by fcummins at 3:23 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Another Cause For Concern At Twitter Headquarters: "The median number of messages a Twitter user sends—ever—is one."
posted by ericb at 3:30 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it really the goal (their goal?) to have everyone on Twitter? It seems to have specific utility for specific types of use - the very quickest, easiest, and most broadcast way to share stuff you find interesting with a minimum of SPAMmy content. It seems that the user group is bound to end up cohering around interest areas like rain on a car windshield, forming mostly separate bubbles. People who don't like to toss around ideas/projects or be directed to links or breaking news won't have much use for it. I'm not sure it's a problem that not everyone likes it - why should they? Not everyone uses information that way.
posted by Miko at 3:41 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


"The median number of messages a Twitter user sends—ever—is one."

Don't worry, they'll make that up in volume.
posted by effbot at 3:49 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


if men do tweet more than women, it's almost certainly entirely questlove's fault. dude. does not. stop.
posted by shmegegge at 4:01 PM on June 2, 2009


fcummins sums up nicely the comment I was about to make about how valuable Twitter could be as a linguistic research tool. My company is currently working on a way to filter Twitter for spam in realtime, and as I've been mining Twitter for data, I've noticed some really strange linguistic phenomenon starting to emerge there.
posted by signalnine at 4:04 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I said it in a thread yesterday, and I'll say it again: it's all signal to noise, and in any medium you're responsible for that. Unless you're Zappa with godlike feedback control, there's no way around it, not here, not FB, nowhere. Hell, that was true in the days of the Sierra Network and the BBS that predated that.
posted by digitalprimate at 4:17 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is cute.

The number of replies that are a sentence or two in this thread is quite high. Maybe more than 140chars, but not much more.
posted by effugas at 4:27 PM on June 2, 2009


It seems that the user group is bound to end up cohering around interest areas like rain on a car windshield

#windshieldrain oh hai just discovrd if u apply silicon spray & use #2 wool buffer patterns R V nice if U drive >50MPH kthxbye
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:34 PM on June 2, 2009


I hate twitter. And that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I only have four followers. *Sniff*.
posted by digsrus at 4:36 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


another anti-male post on metafilter. wow. it must be a day of the week ending in "y".
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 4:47 PM on June 2, 2009


It's okay, Redgrendel2001. Some of my best friends are men.
posted by desjardins at 4:52 PM on June 2, 2009


The hands-down coolest thing that came out of Twitter for me is a local community. I've met so many awesome people in my city whom I wouldn't have otherwise come across: I only friend people on Facebook if I already know them; I'm not adding many blogs to my RSS reader these days, and most of the local blogs are pretty boring; I don't make casual chitchat with people at the grocery store. One individual organized a Twitter meetup at the beginning of the year, and some really great people showed up. Demographics at the tweetup (yes, I know) were pretty even men/women. But they were almost all 25-45. Maybe one or two people under 25 showed, maybe one or two over 45.

There are some Very Cool Things Indeed about having a local Twitter group:

A: Hey what's on fire on south side of town? That's some hugeass smoke. [picture posted with twitpic]
B: Looks like it's coming from the zoo.
C: Car on fire off the highway. Damn it smells. [twitpic]

A: Earthquake! Woo! My whole building just jumped.
B: Why do I never feel these earthquakes?
C: Because you didn't invite me along on your coffee break this morning. It's your karma. Jerk.

A: Sale at our local boutique! Show us this tweet on your phone or print a screenshot and get 30% off any one item.

A: Free coffee at Kaladi Downtown tonight if you mention this tweet. 4-6pm.
posted by rhapsodie at 5:00 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I hate twitter. And that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I only have four followers. *Sniff*."

digsrus, I'd follow you with all 5 of my accounts, but you don't list your twitter name in your meta profile.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:00 PM on June 2, 2009


desj: are they, perchance, self-hating men?

;)
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 5:12 PM on June 2, 2009


Aren't the majority of Internet users male too? I know the IT field skews male, tech geeks are more likely to use twitter, so comes as no surprise that most are men.

What did surprise me is that the demographic of twitter is supposedly 35-49. I would have thought it'd be the txting kids.

I remember managing the helpdesk in college and having someone complain, "You need to hire more women." My response was, "I've hired every woman that has applied." This was in '93.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:18 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


rhapsodie: that actually does sound useful.

i remember local groups in livejournal fulfilling a similar function; a bit like a local AskMe service. unfortunately, around 80% of the questions tended to be "can anybody recommend a good hairdresser nearby?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:20 PM on June 2, 2009


It's okay, Redgrendel2001. Some of my best friends are men.

I even have some male singers in my music collection.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:22 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would also like to point out, that some of you twitter hating whiney little bitches all showed up on twitter in droves when a certain $5 website went down.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:36 PM on June 2, 2009


Those were fun times. We should get together and hang out in IRC more often.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:55 PM on June 2, 2009


digsrus, I'd follow you with all 5 of my accounts, but you don't list your twitter name in your meta profile

I would never stoop so low as to beg for followers, even if I am the only digsRus on any site on the internet.
posted by digsrus at 6:11 PM on June 2, 2009


I'd follow you, digsrus, but I have no idea what the heck your last 2 tweets are about.
posted by desjardins at 6:50 PM on June 2, 2009


Why do we even talk about Twitter. It doesn't even have a business model yet -.-
The whole "we're spending our VC money first then developing a business model as it runs out" thing just reminds me of the bubble.
posted by Submiqent at 6:52 PM on June 2, 2009


I have three twtitter accounts, down from 4.
posted by mds35 at 6:57 PM on June 2, 2009


All 3 of them are men.
posted by mds35 at 6:58 PM on June 2, 2009


Not really sure about that other one.
posted by mds35 at 6:58 PM on June 2, 2009


I should get a second one so my primary followers don't have to listen to me drone on about Star Trek and Zachary Quinto.






psych, bitches
posted by desjardins at 7:04 PM on June 2, 2009


desjardins: I <3 your ZQ tweets (even if I don't understand the crush), though it took me forever to figure out your GQMF hashtag.
posted by rhapsodie at 7:11 PM on June 2, 2009


I'd follow you, digsrus, but I have no idea what the heck your last 2 tweets are about.

The problem is that I have nothing left in the tank after I use up all my best material over here. It must indicate a shortage of precious bodily fluids.
posted by digsrus at 7:28 PM on June 2, 2009


it's all signal to noise

Yeah, but the cool thing is the signal is indexed. So, yes more noise, but you can paradoxically get to what you want faster. Sorta' neat how that works, sometimes.

I leave you with the following analogy:

Twitter : IRC :: BBS : WWW
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:40 PM on June 2, 2009


"It's biased towards people who love to talk about themselves."

It's not even just that. It's for people who want to post innocuous, witty, generally self-promoting, usually uninformative things about themselves.

One of the great things about blogs and community-oriented blogging such as LiveJournal is that you get a wealth of subgroups of all sorts... lots of very specific niche interests that tend not to have a real home and place to gather in public life. This could be everything from fanbased, to hobbyists, to fetishists, to pagans, to homeschoolers, to... Basically, a whole lot of subgroups, who tend to be poorly served by sites like Twitter.

Basically, there are a whole lot of little groups that are otherwise ignored, but which add a whole lot of community and content that is *VERY* relevant to a lot of people's individual quirks on the Internet... and Twitter tends to co-opt them.

Well, after doing a bit of basic research, I can say pretty authoritatively that when people use Twitter instead of other services, niche blogs, etc., it tends to hurt those communities' overall online presence.

More and more often on sites like LJ, people are "phoning it in" by mirroring tweets to their journals. But the thing is, those tweets are invariably less revealing and less truly personal, and less relevant to the kind of subgroup-oriented netfriendships that existed previously.

It's basically destructive to the kind of community and level of discussion that existed before, which is increasingly displaced by content that is less meaningful and less relevant to its audience. And if someone does post about such a thing, the odds are good that whatever they posted is locked to you.

... and if that's not a good definition of killing community, I don't know what is.

Even the frequency of niche community-oriented posts is pretty obvious if you look for it. Twitter probably has as many members nowadays as a site like LJ, Blogger, etc. But given all that interest, there are remarkably few recent posts relevant to subgroups:

According to Tweetgrid, the number of people openly posting about a "fansub"? About eight a day. About "bisexuality"? About six. Interested in "BDSM"? You might as well forget it, because that interest is being used extensively by a spambot being used to promote a webcam site.

Twitter is still in its infancy, and yet from a niche interest-oriented perspective, it's really quite poorly designed... and likely to become far less keyword-searchable over time, due to spambots. This will presumably lead to "smarter", reputation-based searches, which in turn, will lead to people gaming the system.

Ultimately, Twitter is a kind of kludge, designed for and entirely dependent upon a very limited amount of raw ASCII text. To me, it's not a model for a multibillion dollar company... it's a problem looking for a solution.
posted by markkraft at 7:41 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or, it's a way of communicating something within 140 characters to your internet and/or IRL friends. The horror.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:43 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Interested in "BDSM"?

yeah, I made the mistake of including that in a tweet and instantly got a ton of followers.
posted by desjardins at 7:44 PM on June 2, 2009


markkraft, I've discovered several forums and communities specifically BECAUSE of Twitter, though. I would have had no other way of knowing they existed because I wasn't seeking them out. Twitter brought them to me.
posted by desjardins at 7:46 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Tweet Tweet Twitter,
Tweet Twitter Tweet Twitter Tweet Tweet Tweet.
Twitter Twitter Tweet Twitter Tweet Twitter Twitter,
Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Tweet Twitter Tweet.





The preceding has been a public service brought to you by the Council For Repeating Words Until They No Longer Make Sense.
posted by Spatch at 7:52 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Currently, I am using twitter to post live updates of a murder trial in Ohio for the newspaper I write for. I am doing a play-by-play of the witnesses and other courtroom ruckus. The courtroom has WIFI, so the tweets get posted as soon as I'm finished writing them.
Of course, this is considered a niche because only locals, attorneys or those who like murder trials will probably be interested in following. Our Twitter account is www.twitter.com/medinagazette.
I have also been on Twitter since Feb. using my own account and somehow have a bunch of followers. My account is @alleycat727.

(Sorry if this seems like a shameless plug, but I want more followers for the trial!)
posted by greatalleycat at 7:55 PM on June 2, 2009


t's not even just that. It's for people who want to post innocuous, witty, generally self-promoting, usually uninformative things about themselves.

For me, it's for people who want to talk about issues in museums, the humanities, nonprofits and public history, yet who will never have time to blog or LJ about their professional lives because we are all too busy teaching and/or managing sites or programs. It lets us tip one another off to new articles, thought-provoking posts by people who do have time to blog, share pictures of things like events or new acquistions, give insider sneak peaks of things which haven't been publicly revealed yet (like new web projects or exhibitions), useful pieces of research, or online presentations. It moves fast, it's easy to digest, and it's about hte mos effective filter of online humanities wheat-from-chaff that I've found in my nearly 20 years online.

... Basically, a whole lot of subgroups, who tend to be poorly served by sites like Twitter.


And they can still use their other sites. It's not like Twitter asks you to have an exclusive relationship with it. I agree that I've connected with new groups because of the news-broadcasting abilities of Twitter. Online communities that are falling apart because their users are migrating to Twitter or FaceBook might need to reconsider what their communities have to offer and why they're failing their users. Getting on Twitter hasn't reduced my MeFi time at all, for instance (in fact, I steal links from one to post on the other!). But it has reduced the time I spent trudging through mostly-mediocre forums in my field that weren't quite making it, but were the only place for discussion.

If you're part of a group whose discussion has moved to microblogging sites, it'd be worth joining them for a while to see whether they are finding improvements in communications there. If they're just moving on to other topics...well, maybe they're just moving on to other topics. The internet has been in its infancy and adolescence a long time. Things are bound to change and keep changing. We won't have the halcyon days back - it's part of the nature of communications media that messaging changes, too.
posted by Miko at 8:04 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Setting the comment limit at 140 characters without warning would make the greatest Mefi April Fool's prank ever!
posted by sourwookie at 8:08 PM on June 2, 2009


Do you get people who have your email address but chose to use facebook mail as their means off communication with you anyway? I hate those guys.

Artw,

Andrei Codrescu said this on NPR today:

... now I get messages on Facebook that I could have gotten just as easily in my regular e-mail, a time-wasting redundancy that also carries other time rip-offs with it. My regular e-mail now tells me I have Facebook messages, forcing me to go to Facebook, which is slow on account of the jillion egos battling for verbal-audio-visual attention.
posted by lukemeister at 8:18 PM on June 2, 2009


Also, I heard Andrei Codrescu say that some kids were on his lawn.

(I heard that too. Seriously, he's such a curmudgeon. The dark sensibilities and exotic accent have never been enough to lift him out of Andy Rooney land, IMO.)

I don't like getting emailed on FaceBook much either. I make a point of not responding to it there. So far this works well enough to get the message across. If anyone continued, I might try an email like "I saw you emailed me on FaceBook but I just don't visit it enough to get things from there onto my to-do list, so message me at this address next time..."

One of my frequent collaboraters is a high-energy, multimedia milennial gal who uses all channels. She has a way of ambushing you across platforms that is just insane. She'll catch you anywhere - Twitter, Facebook, Gchat, phone, Gmail - the approach is like duck hunting. I'll say this for her: when she needs a response, she gets it. Drives me nuts, though; in what I've come to think of as a near-Victorian way, I like to keep my varioius channels pure. It doesn't work that well, though.
posted by Miko at 8:35 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I like to keep them separate too. FB is for people I know in real life (with one exception). Twitter is for anyone and everyone. Gmail is for people I actually want to talk to. Almost no one gets my phone number.
posted by desjardins at 8:55 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should say that FB is for people I used to know in real life but have barely spoken to in 10 years. Plus current coworkers and assorted family members. I spend far more time on Twitter.
posted by desjardins at 8:58 PM on June 2, 2009


Of course it's dominated by men; the men who wrote it started the site. And then their mostly male friends in IT joined in, who's mostly male friends joined. Which is to say, Twitter is an effective platform for convincing people twitter is a effective platform.

But there's another Male Dominated social network that scales that everyone wants to forget because it's so damn hard to research: IRC. Yet more evidence for the Twitter is IRC analogy.
posted by pwnguin at 9:02 PM on June 2, 2009


Currently, I am using twitter to post live updates of a murder trial in Ohio for the newspaper I write for. I am doing a play-by-play of the witnesses and other courtroom ruckus. The courtroom has WIFI, so the tweets get posted as soon as I'm finished writing them.

Interesting; when I visit court they take my cellphone and laptop at the entrance.
posted by pwnguin at 9:04 PM on June 2, 2009


sockington's owner is a Mefite? Damn, we do have celebrities!
posted by lukemeister at 9:37 PM on June 2, 2009


Needs a "boyzone" tag.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:11 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If anyone has questions about Twitter, I would be happy to answer them. My mother has an account. I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:31 AM on June 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wait, a gadget heavy format that lets you do as much socializing as you can in 120 characters is dominated by a handful of men?

I am shocked! Shocked I tell you!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:36 AM on June 3, 2009


A lot of people don't specify their gender on Twitter. Women are more likely than men do not specify their gender on the Internet, because people are generally more likely to harass an anonymous woman than an anonymous man. Therefore the numbers on gender are suspect.
posted by madcaptenor at 5:48 AM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I keep getting harassed on Skype by weird women who think I seem cool and want to show me their naked picture websites.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:50 AM on June 3, 2009


To be clear, given the tone of my earlier comments: I like Twitter. I just don't think it's a big deal.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:06 AM on June 3, 2009


Twitter is IRC

Oh, no. The main difference is pull vs. push. To be in an IRC conversation, I have to seek out the existing community that's clustdered together in a virtual space, and participate. With Twitter, I establish my outpost, and then send transmissions out while accepting them from anyone I want. I don't have to roam around the internet spending time in a bunch of different virtual spaces of varying quality and interest. I choose only the best transmissions I want to receive. It's less conversational for that reason, in that not everyone is involved in a single exchange with a known number of people, but it's much more diverse and diffuse.

IRC also has a lot more barriers to entry for the casual internet user.

I'm finding that my time is what's most limited, and I'm gravitating toward applications that let me do the most while visiting as few individual sites as possible. The combination of Twitter, FaceBook, email, a few blogs, a few RSS feeds, and major media sites is currently delivering everything I need. Considering that I don't see conversing on the internet as an end in itself, I like that I don't have to waste time dipping into thousands of tiny online islands to find out whether something interesting is going on there (usually, it's not). Instead, I can put up my radio tower and pull in only the content I definitely want.
posted by Miko at 7:57 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


This site needs a twitter-vention.

sorry, couldn't contain it.
posted by fyrebelley at 11:52 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


And much as Kanye West hates twitter I wonder if he has a meta account?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:20 PM on June 3, 2009


I like that I don't have to waste time dipping into thousands of tiny online islands to find out whether something interesting is going on there

The web as couch potato 2.0?
posted by effbot at 12:32 AM on June 4, 2009


How does not having time equal couch potato? Couch potatoes have all the time in the world to hang out on the internet all day dipping into little communities here and there.
posted by Miko at 7:07 AM on June 4, 2009


Twitter is IRC

No, for different reasons than Miko stated. In order to keep up with an IRC chat, I have to stay at my computer. It's real time and fluid, and depending on the speed of the chat, I might lose track of the conversation's subject if I go to the bathroom. Twitter is on MY time. I follow ~120 people, but I don't have to read their every word, since most of them aren't directed at me. I see exactly what's directed at me (or who's mentioned me by "name"), and I can respond to those whenever I want. There's not necessarily an expectation that I respond instantly, as there is in chat.

Twitter reminds me of the whiteboards we had on our dorm room doors. "In class til 2, wanna meet for coffee after?" doesn't merit a rush down the hall to respond. I might write on my own door, perhaps a movie quote, a joke, or a rant about a professor, for passersby to read. Sometimes they would respond back, sometimes not. It can convey information (Free movie @ student union at 8 pm; Studying in library, be back later) or not. It can express identity: (I <3 Star Trek) or not. Twitter is nearly anything you want it to be, but it's not something that ties you to your computer and forces you to participate.
posted by desjardins at 9:35 AM on June 4, 2009


desjardins: "In order to keep up with an IRC chat, I have to stay at my computer. It's real time and fluid, and depending on the speed of the chat, I might lose track of the conversation's subject if I go to the bathroom."

Of course, we have ways of solving that, like proxies and screen+irssi for example. And yes, screen+irssi isn't novice friendly, and what Twitter does can be duplicated with notification scripts. Any hilights you have enabled in irssi can be dumped to a file descriptor, and munged into whatever you like: a webpage, popups on your desktop, an RSS feed, etc.

The only thing Twitter brings to the table is SMS sized messages. I'm not sure I'll be able to contain my enthusiasm for that kind of financial undertaking.
posted by pwnguin at 12:22 AM on June 9, 2009


Of course, we have ways of solving that, like proxies and screen+irssi for example.And yes, screen+irssi isn't novice friendly,

No, it's not, and you have it right there - Twitter has an incredibly low barrier to entry, high ease of use, high intuitiveness, and aesthetic simplicity. And what's more, though it can aid conversation, it's not necessarily expected that anyone's going to respond to a Tweet. It's like scanning headlines - you can write a letter to the editor, or not, but the medium doesn't depend on dialogue.

It's not just an update of something that already existed - it's a redevelopment of a realtime messaging service with a different audience and different modes of interaction. It's not the same experience as IRC at all.
posted by Miko at 11:19 AM on June 9, 2009


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