Twittering for 1 Year - A Retrospective


My most recent Tweet (a short update to the Twitter service) was this:

  • Today's my twitterversary! 1 year of meaningless drivel flowing from my keyboard and phone. I still count it as time well-spent. about 4 hours ago from TwitBin

It's true.  I've been using Twitter for one year as of today and I've been thinking about it.  What does Twitter mean to me? Why have I adopted it? 

First - a bit of explanation. Twitter provides a way for you (and your
friends) to share short updates about your daily life. It's free and you can use a mobile phone or the Internet to post these updates and follow the updates of people you choose.

So, my thoughts...

Twitter has become part of my online life.  Whenever my browser is open, the left side of it displays the updates from my friends via TwitBin.  I follow the updates of about 100 people, most of which I know.  About 300 people follow my updates and I've posted close to 500 updates in a year.

The beauty of Twitter is how lightweight it is.  It makes blogging feel heavy and cumbersome. Because you are limited to 140 characters, you can only say so much in an update.  This takes away the anxiety and time it takes to blog.  You can go from a thought to sharing it in seconds.

Speaking of blogging, Twitter has impacted my blog reading.  I abandoned my RSS reader for a couple of months without too much thought.  I think Twitter became my surrogate RSS reader - it gave me the connections and discoveries that I found with blog reading - without the fuss. I've recently cranked up Google Reader again.

Twitter has impacted my relationships.  140 characters at a time, I've gotten to know my online (and real-world) friends much better. Daily life is the only real life and Twitter shines a spotlight on it.

Twitter is new, but the concept is forever.  Twitter opened up a layer of information that never really existed before online. It's a type of information that has meaning in the context of friends as it asks: what are you doing right now?  Whether it's Twitter or some other service, this layer will persist from now on.

Twitter's growth and adoption is related to it's low barrier to entry.  I have a number of friends who may have never started a blog, but jumped right in to Twitter.  Why?  Because there isn't much a learning curve.  Everyone knows what they are doing right now and Twitter makes it easy to share.

Twitter isn't for everyone.  There is a lot of noise and crap.  But, if you can find people you know and have a way to integrate the updates into your life, you may be addicted.

Twitter enables a new kind of news that's nearly real-time and uniquely on-the-ground.  I was fascinated watching Nate Ritter use Twitter to track the events around the San Diego fires. Mainstream media can't do what Nate was doing.

So, I'm a fan and I plan to use Twitter as long as my friends do.

We adopted Twitter at the very end of a year-long trip and some of my favorite Twitter memories are from sharing updates as we approached home after a year away.

The very first update (that also highlights my persistent typos and misspellings):

  • Just about to watch Momento in an apartment in Barcelona.11:32 AM November 21, 2006  from web  

After Spain we arrived in the US and drove across the US to Seattle...

  • Feelin the love from the family in North Carolina. 05:53 AM November 29, 2006 from txt
  • Turning right onto "Preacher Smith Rd. " in Rome Georgia... 08:35 AM December 02, 2006
  • Has officially entered wile e. coyote country. Beep beep. Flagstaf 162 miles. 10:39 AM December 05, 2006
  • Just passed Talent, Oregon. The local cops drive cars that say "Talent Police" according to Sachi's eyewitness acount. 11:06 AM December 11, 2006 from txt
  • Seeing the Seattle skyline for the first time in a year. We cannot sit still. Smiles and deep breathes all around. I wonder what awaits us now. 06:19 PM December 11, 2006
  • We are arriving on our street serenaded by Nirvana - Smells like Teen Spirit. Welcome to Seattle. 06:36 PM December 11, 2006 from txt
  • 2007 - you are my bitch. 11:56 PM December 31, 2006 from txt

Perhaps you'd like to follow me on Twitter