I rarely comment on products and issues related to my employer (high tech, human factors), as that could be bad for business, but on the other hand, sometimes, one needs to backup ones public opinion with an explanation, so here we go.
Why is Twitter popular?
1. Would it not be fair to say that Tweeting makes one feel better? That may be good, after all, what’s bad about feeling good? Truth is though, it is simply a creator of information overload and an outlet for those who may not have someone next to them to talk to. We have 5 senses for a reason!
2. People become addicted. This blogger included. But not forever.
1. The greatest asset to Twitter is not what it does, but the name and branding.
2. A majority of the great achievements and goings on in the world are being carried out by people who are on the whole, focused. Twitter breaks focus. I tweet once in a while to test the service as part of market research for my employer and to validate my own opinion on how technology is effecting society. The test is to see if anyone responds. After all, a proportion of my tweets ask a question, respond to another tweet (for which one would expect a reply as a matter of common courtesy) or I make an intentionally (but genuine) controversal remark or observation.
3. The purpose of Twitter – to quickly pass on information or seek counsel – is a good one. My key issue is that the technical implementation – like SMS text messaging, was not necessary. So:
A better way to ‘tweet’ (tweemail?)
A service that performed like this would be more reliable, accessible and extensible:
1. Type an email
2. Send it to your blog
3. Emailed ‘Tweet’ content appears on blog
4. ‘Followers’ are notified when a new message appears.
5. That’s it! Easy.
Benefits of tweemail
1. No character limit, therefore preserving the correct use of English and removing the need to truncate important facts.
2. Uses robust standards based technology, for example, email can be sent from almost any device, no client or sophisticated web browser required.
3. ‘Tweets’ that exceed any user specified length can be truncated automatically, with hyperlinked ‘click here for more’ dots displayed after the character limit. Like this: …
When clicked, the full text would appear, just like the RSS reader on my 4 year old Sony Ericsson K800i backup phone. An excellent app that is an example of well thought out and practical user interface design.
Exhibit A – Sarah Lacy @ Techcrunch 14 April 2011