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Twitter Issues, Tissues for Short

Two facts are known through the web and tech community regarding Twitter: 1) It has quickly moved from a simple ‘what are you doing?’ tool to the poster-child of the micro-blogging phenomenon 2) It has been having huge scaling issues which has been causing service outages over the past several months. Both facts have created BIG issues for Twitter (Tissues).

I cannot add anything to the second Tissue, others have blogged about the technology and architectural framework issues that Twitter is experiencing. Ironically, Tim O’Reilly messaged his interest in blog post detailing some hypothesis about Twitter’s issues via a tweet itself. I definitely recommend reading it. Anyway, technology is one major Tissue, let’s leave it at that.

Secondly, micro-blogging has taken hold. This is also a major Tissue. Quite simply, there are so many things in the world you can convey in 140 characters (the character limit that Twitter allows in a single message). Anything you can think of, even notifying others of earthquakes, can fly in seconds over Twitter.  Because of this dynamic, many are shooting their thoughts over Twitter instead of blogging.  I find myself tweeting much more than blogging because I find I can convey much of the thought in two sentences so why ‘go on’ about it.  So we are witnessing a change in human behavior or at least the behavior of early technology adopters, we still must admit most of the world doesn’t blog or tweet.

Anyway, one could argue this dynamic is basically causing Twitter to slowly but surely handle all of the messaging load from every blogging platform out there, a major Tissue. In fact, now even when people blog, they shoot a note out via Twitter that their blog post is posted.  When they use FriendFeed, Tweets are fired out.  When people reply, Tweets are fired out. So Twitter’s success, adoption and use cases is what is causing all of the Tissues to begin with and could lead to Twitter’s downfall, the ultimate irony.

It is this irony that I find the most fascinating of all.  I’m personally rooting for Twitter.

BTW, I could have used Twitter to convey much of this via Twitter instead of blogging. In fact, I did to make a point.  And don’t forget to find my tweet notifying you all that I published this blog post ;).

“Mob Rules” & Power of Networks

Mark Pesce, a consultant based in Sydney, is someone I’ve just started recently following on Twitter. He recently gave a good talk regarding Twitter which discusses the emergent use cases of the service and its global impacts. He topped it with his closing remarks at Web Directions South 2007. He gave a fantastic and insightful talk called Mob Rules which discusses the power of networks and how the networks (the mob) always find a way to the solution where “value” lies.

It isn’t just Twitter or FriendFeed. It isn’t always technology. It is about People and the power of People networks. The power of people networks (and their needs) will drive the technology because technology in many cases will be used to find the solutions to “appease the mob” and their needs. Really gets to the heart of some of the key issues of what is making social networking so pervasive today and all of the lately hyped social software so important.

Recommend checking the video out, worth the time if you are interested in stepping back and thinking about some of the themes and under-currents that are driving a lot of the change we see on the net and will continue to see. You can also check out Mark’s blog at the human network.

BTW, if the fisherman story doesn’t raise an eye-brow about how the world is changing before our eyes, well….

Impressive Small Scale Ingenuity

Sometimes ingenuity even on the smallest scale is impressive.  Controlling lights with Twitter, I find this remarkable even if only the tech geeks will appreciate it.  Saw the video from Justin Wickett via TechCrunch this morning and felt it was worth the relay.

Control Lights with Twitter from Justin on Vimeo.

This is quite a ways away from “What are you doing?”.

Twitter, the layman’s explanation

Best layman explanation that I have seen regarding Twitter yet. Found it via Fred Wilson on Delicious.

Twitter in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

Since demonstrating the value of Twitter to a number of colleagues a few weeks back, I have seen more and more people I know entering the world of Twitter. Some remain skeptical but are at least giving it a try. This is exactly where I was when I first questioned its value and application (and quickly learned how valuable Twitter could be).

. Social Fatigue .

At first I thought it was just me. Then I asked a couple of colleagues at Dow Jones and several echoed my sentiment. I believe I am experiencing what I was calling ‘social fatigue’. I simply reached a point of personal saturation for social software. How many social applications can one user use at one time? I’m sure Jeremiah Owyang is developing a Forrester study on the topic. And today, I came across the article ‘Facebook fatigue’ kicks in as people tire of social networks in The Register. ‘Facebook fatigue?’, so it isn’t just me.

Facebook continues to impress me as it is still sets the standard as the complete social platform. The news feed is a great feature. And the power of the platform itself, often the topic of discussion and a place where numerous developers have already built into its frameworks. And the group functionality (sometimes) and events calendars have also proven helpful. However, for me, it simply isn’t scoring enough on utility. I only find myself using it once a week, not once an hour. The passing-along karma, the beers with wings, the happy hour invites, the groups for “everything under the sun” has me thinking about the topic of ‘social spam’. And even the amazing pace at which I can consume Scrabulous games has simply starting caused me social software fatigue.

And more social software enters the picture like Tumblr and Seesmic. Each with their unique take and value proposition, a multi-content type micro-blogging service and video email/conversation respectively. It will be interesting to see how each develops traction with their user base. And there are many others which is really incredible. So as these new ventures enter the picture, I ask: Is and should consolidation in this space begin? Will we see the functionality of these ventures merge quicker in the social networking space at the same rapid pace that we saw the new offerings launch at the speed of Web 2.0. Has this consolidation already begun like WordPress launching Prologue earlier this week?

Time will tell. But if I am experience fatigue and I immerse myself in the web everyday, social fatigue must be real. So alas, I find myself back to finding the highest level of utility in LinkedIn, still in my opinion the unheralded social networking site for business use, and Twitter, the social component I had initially questioned its utility but now use throughout the day.

Opinions? Thoughts? Social Energy? Social Fatigue? Yes? No?

[Update 2/1/08:  Jeremiah Owyang commented that he is not currently doing a study on the topic of social fatigue but that it is a trend to watch.]