Twitter is transport more than interaction tool
[tweetmeme source=”Marcio_saito” only_single=false]
When Wired Magazine recently declared on its cover “The web is dead“, it really meant that the Internet is becoming primarily a transport infrastructure and that applications (be it an iPhone app or a web 2.0 widget) running on the client will use it to communicate with servers in the cloud. The model of a central server serving static user interface pages and action buttons to a browser that does not leverage local computing power is dying.
That is not new. In the 1980’s we shifted from mainframes computers to client-server architectures. Same evolution, same pattern. Can that be the case for micro blogging as well?
There is no question that the emergence of Twitter is an incredible development. While the majority of the Internet users are still not there, those who are tend to become intense users quickly.
Twitter users are getting tired
People have debated the 140-character limitation endlessly. That feature made it primarily a transport infrastructure. Most of the posts in my timeline are a headline and a link to content stored outside Twitter.
As users connect to more than 75 other users or so, they can no longer keep up with their Twitter timeline. As marketers hijack popular hashtags, it becomes difficult to see the big picture of a discussion without spending unjustifiable amount of time separating signal from noise.
It is true that the Social Media communication protocol is recipient-discretion and nobody should feel pressured to read everything that passes the screen, but I see (and feel) signs of tiredness.
But Twitter still can be incredibly useful as a social transport
Change is coming. As we discover that transport infrastructures such as the Internet and Twitter are generally useful for different applications, creative people find ways to use it. Most intense users of Twitter are now using tools such as HootSuite or TweetDeck to help visualize posts of interest. A single-threaded timeline is no longer viable.
A new generation of applications are now using Twitter transport to add new features to specialized applications (be it Social CRM, Customer Service, Movie Reviews…). Filtering technology (social or algorithmic) can be applied. Timelines can be brought into the context where work is being done so it becomes a tool, not a distraction.
In the past days, we saw a deluge of posts announcing that “the xxx daily is out at Paper.li”. Aggregating micro blogging posts using a newspaper metaphor sounds like a step backwards or a bridge: if you are old-style and cannot keep up with Twitter, we will package them in old-style newspaper format for you. Reading glasses not provided.
But, as I look at my paper.li page (which aggregates posts from people I follow), I realize it is a darn good way of getting the big picture without having to watch a time line all day. Sure, it is using Twitter as transport and leveraging the effects of social media, but it is delivering a different user experience.
All I am saying is that it is becoming obvious that the Twitter is just a transport. The killer app for interacting with that transport is still to emerge. Things like HootSuite and Paper.li are just the beginning.
The Twitterfeed is already dead and I had not noticed.
Long life Twitter Transport.