Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Twitter fate

Twitter seems to be the site that pioneer "microblogging", which is just a fancy term for "flaunting one's life on the interweb with minimal effort and maximal impact". It doesn't actually have anything to do with blogging, and instead evolved from those status messages that can be set in most instant messaging systems. Like, you know, workin. send utube links svp.

Of course, the main deficiency of IM status is it's discreetness. People only really see it when going to IM someone, and even then it's only the very last status message that is shown. Which is totally inadequate for an average egghead, who'd rather stand on a busy street corner and scream through a megaphone that he just popped out to buy an apple.

Twitter offered a much better alternative. It renamed status messages to updates and decoupled them from instant messaging. Users were encouraged to create updates through a website, or by messaging in IM, or even through SMS (at a premium rate, of course). Such updates would then be broadcasted to the entire world (through IM & SMS, of course), and stored on a public interweb page, in case anyone missed the broadcast.

This turned out to be a perfect outlet for all attention-starved nerds, who could finally get some release by broadcasting self-indulegent crap and pretending that anyone cares (not unlike this blog). Of course, since such individuals tend to gather in groups, their subconscious desire to keep the fantasy going compell them to react to each other's updates, thus keeping the cycle going.

In addition to Twitter, which allegedly has millions of subscribers, microblogging craze is supported by various Twitter clones (techcrunch et al seem to be promoting Jaiku), as well as big names of time-wastage industry, Facebook and Myspace.

While the two giants don't have the feature implemented quite yet, they are moving in the appropriate direction. Facebook seems particularly close, with an archived, mobile-updatable status update feature. As soon they provide push functionality (which Facebook already sort of does, with RSS feeds), Twitter will be truly dead.

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