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Why Twitter is not to be ridiculed

February 15, 2011

John Naughton, professor of the public understanding of technology at the Open University (UK), has written an insightful little piece in the Observer entitled Twitter’s five-year evolution from ridicule to dissidents’ tool. He writes:

After email and the web, Twitter has become for me the most useful service on the net. In part, this is because I’m choosy about whom to follow. Most of those whose tweets I see are people I either know personally, or whose work and opinions I value. So what I’m effectively doing is plugging into a collective stream of consciousness. Like many heavy users of the internet, I use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) as a way of keeping track of the hundreds of websites and blogs in which I’m interested. But reading such an RSS stream was beginning to feel like trying to drink from a firehose.

So Twitter has become my human-mediated RSS feed.

My thoughts exactly. Among other things, Twitter is a surprisingly powerful way of keeping track of people whose work and thoughts you’re interested in. And  you don’t even have to follow them all, especially if they tweet too often: the people you follow will act as filters and resend you only the best tweets of the excessively prolific twitterers.

That’s the good news about Twitter.  Its more problematic contribution to the coming of the age of viral reality will be discussed elsewhere. Now I must go – I have someone to follow.

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