Twitterversary2: The Quickening

OK, I’m a little late posting this (by a week or 2). I’ve been distracted by other things but it’s still worth getting out to you all.

A little over 2 years ago, I joined twitter, right after it’s SxSW explosion. After playing with it for a week I wrote a post mentioning some of the big starts on it like Dave Winer, Scobleizer, Leo Laporte, Adam Curry, Jason Calacanis, Evo Terra and Jonathan Coulton. I mentioned that John Edwards was using it and speculated that other politicians might. Where I thought it was fun, I created an alias to this which is simple twitter, indicating that I felt that would be my last post on the subject. Boy, was I wrong.

Last year, on my twitterersary I wrote a year in review (I have no idea why I wrote that as a list, so don’t ask). Some of the highlights include stressing how twitter is about relationships, and observing how I was finding out about news via twitter.

Now, it’s a year later, and I’m hopefully a year wiser. The biggest change is that twitter is not longer the Social Media Club, everybody is on twitter. Recently, on the same day both Barbara Walters and Martha Stewart were talking up twitter on their shows. Where I’m glad to see people are finding out about the power of twitter, part of me misses the exclusivity of it. Generally speaking I try and avoid things that Martha Stewart is doing.

We have seen our share of fail whales this year. Back in May, there was a tweetout to protest twitter’s performance issues. I’m not sure this did anything other then make people feel better about themselves. Ev and Biz knew there were problems and were working on this, this wasn’t a secret.

On the plus site the way I consume news has changed. In the past when some event happened I’d turn on CNN, now I check what topics are trending on twitter and begin following those hashtags. In many ways it’s a virtual flashmob people come together, exchange news, some from eyewitnesses some from people with knowledge and quite frankly, some BS. Yes I have to be my own filter but I’m finding that I’m getting more valuable information faster then I did from the networks.

Not only have politicians started using twitter, it’s being used frequently from the House and Senate floor. I find it interesting that members of both us letting us know what bills they find important and how they are using twitter to mobilize folks. In a related note, I’m pretty sure that Obama’s (or his people’s) mastery of Social Media was a large part of him winning the election. His use of technology really emphisized the age divide between himself and McCain.

There must be a one year itch on twitter because I did cheat on it a bit this year. I spent some time on pownce and plurk but always found myself drawn back to twitter. The people who interest me never post on pownce and plurk felt rather needy (if I don’t post once every 8 hours I’ll lose karma, oh, noes!). Twitter is just there, no games, and my people are always around if I take extended stays away.

Over the last couple of months tweetdeck has really changed how I use twitter. With tweetdeck, friends lists and hashtags, twitter becomes manageable again. I can have a list for my close personal friends and for the 2 or 3 topics I care about. When I’m feeling adventurous I can wade into the pool of everyone I’m following and engage with them. As I mentioned above when something of import is happening in the world I can begin to follow that as well.

People often ask why I follow people who I don’t want to watch moment to moment. It’s simple, there are people who I want to be able to follow when I have time, but as this is an attention economy I don’t want to use all my tweet time on. In addition, just because I don’t want to follow you second to second, doesn’t mean I want cut off your DM privileges. The ability to follow at a distance fixes that issue.

In closing, there have been a couple of stumbles in the twitter road this year but it’s been fun. Which is why I’m here. Enjoy!