Monday, February 13, 2012

Why Twitter Works for Me?

I am among those who joined online social networks very late and even after joining some of them, like Face Book and Linkedin, I wasn’t regular on them. Twitter changed that. I joined even Twitter very late but once I did I got addicted. I found it very different from FB (remember, it was launched as a rival of FB) and other networking sites. What, according to me, separates Twitter from other sites is that it’s not a platform for purposeless chit chat among family members and friends, but informative and purposeful exchange of ideas expressed with a hint of style and snap and lot of brevity, just 140 characters . (Some manage to pull their messages into one- liners really well.)

Another thing that works for Twitter is that it is personal without being intrusive. People connected with you on Twitter may get to know you over a period of time but not through sharing of personal details but purely on the basis of commonality of interests. In fact, if you see the format of Twitter, it encourages sharing personal information only so much as is required for another person to be acquainted with you (a one-sentence bio and photo), underlining the character of networking it promotes: sharing ideas.

Many may complain about Twitter’s restriction on number of characters – 140 – but I find it engaging to contract a complex message into a sentence or two and if you have exceeded the limit, it’s interesting to figure out how you can drop letters from words and words from sentences without distorting the message. In fact, that we understand the message contained even in savagely truncated Tweets suggests that you don’t necessarily need to bend over backwards to explain something to somebody; if you supply the reader with little bit of details, the reader works out the rest. It promotes brevity and precision in communication.

It would be ignorant of me to say there is nothing in the networking world that can match Twitter because there are so many networking sites and I am not familiar with most of them. For example, for a very long time I was not a Linkedin fan; although I had an account I used to seldom visit or update it. Then a friend one day made a strong case for Linkedin and explained how prospective employers or consultants access you through Linkedin and the bigger your network the better your visibility with them, and for last five months or so I have been regular on the site. And I read some time back that there is another networking site like Tweeter open only to people coming from the scientific community.

The net is too infinite and viral a place for any idea to remain restricted to handful of sites, but if you divided the networking sites into two types – say one based on interest and the other on social interaction – I would throw my lot with the former.

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