Twitter overload

Everyone is writing about twitter, writing on twitter, writing about twitter on twitter, and every other way they can to get across their twitter addiction.

Why twitter? How is this service attracting so much positive attention when it crashes regularly, 3rd party client software isn’t reliable, and you are limited to only 140 characters per update?

The idea is quite simple and the execution of it is just as simple. Where myspace and facebook both wanted to revolutionize the area of social networking with tons of features (wanted or not), twitter took the route of creating a social networking site with only a status update feature (also known as a tweet). What are you doing? Where are you? What are your thoughts? Any of these can be put into the 140 character tweet limit.

Initially, twitter wanted you to be able to do this on the move. Want to let people know where you are and see if they want to meet up? Use SMS from your phone to send a tweet. Now, the 140 characters makes sense, right? If it doesn’t, allow me to explain.

Most cell phone carriers enforce a 160 character limit on SMS messages. There is no technological limit here, simply one that carriers enforce on their end. Twitter’s idea was to allow you to send a tweet to all of your friends with the equivalent of an SMS message. Why are they using 140 vs the 160 allowed is beyond me, but nonetheless, with the success of today’s text messaging, it was obvious that 140 would be enough.

So, once more. Why with all of the limitations has twitter been so successful? With a guess of 200K+ active users and 3M+ total users, the service pales in comparison to both myspace’s and facebook’s 100M+ count, but the twitter user base is nothing to shrug shoulders at.

Twitter has something that the “bigger” social network sites don’t. Simple, minimalistic, quick access. Most client apps are built around this concept and the twitter site allows twitterers to do basically one thing beyond following other twitterers, send out a tweet. You don’t have to muck through all of the notifications, facebook apps, profiles, likes, dislikes, groups, pics, and hideously designed sites that will bring powerful computers to their knees. You simply type “End of day is here. Happy Hour anyone?” or “Just saw 7 pounds. Very sad, but everyone needs to see it!”

What makes this plain concept so great is that It keeps your attention. Twitter has been described as micro-blogging. In this description, it makes sense. You may not want to read through an entire blog entry on a friend’s site, but you wouldn’t mind reading less than 140 characters expressing what is on your friend’s mind. Much like youtube created the 2 minute time wasting video to satisfy our generation’s short attention span, twitter is doing the same on the written front.

Add other items to this simple ability and you have developed a method of active communication that you aren’t able to get from the other social sites. Clients on mobile phones, computers, iPhones, and many other devices with internet access are creating methods of sharing your physical location with a tap of a button, uploading on-the-fly snapshots of your life, allowing you to find other twitterers that may be close by, and being able to share that great link to a website you found while waiting for a bus. All of this is kept within the confines of 140 characters.

Now. Twitter me up at http://twitter.com/icedtrip.

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