I can recall at least a half dozen different explanations from people I respect who all explain Twitter in fundamentally different ways. And that, I now see, is part of its strength. It’s different things to different people: for some, it’s a way to “microblog” (i.e., say even more mundane things about even more discrete things in their day). For others, a way to send text messages to a group. Others see it as a way to carry on a group conversation. And still others see it as a way to keep tabs on what their friends are up to.Two years later, and that still mostly holds true. Ironically, at the time I thought it was going to be primarily an update tool for my blog. But now it's mostly a way to keep tabs on friends and, how did I put it? Right: "say even more mundane things about even more discrete things in [my] day." Yep, that sounds about right.
But there's more to it, and two recent posts really capture a lot of what I think matters about Twitter. First, read Turk's piece on "What Twitter Is... To Me", and then read Erik Heels' post "How to be a millionaire on #Twitter". Both capture some of the less obvious benefits of a fast-growing community like Twitter.
As for me, I follow far fewer people than follow me. I can't really fathom that there are 1800 people who care what I say, but that's another post for another day. I glance at new messages ("tweets", as they're called - and "tweets" is about the only made-up Twitter-ism I can stomach) using Tweetdeck a few times throughout the day, but miss much more than I catch. If I have a few minutes, I may scroll back and read more. I use Tweetdeck to monitor terms that matter (@blogger is by far the most important one), and will engage with people where I can help out.
Another post that I'm going to write soon is how we've managed to use the "official" Blogger account on Twitter to good use. In the meantime, I'll simply point to Max Kalehoff's outstanding post on that subject a couple weeks ago.