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It’s what you do with it

October 14, 2009
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I know I said I don’t like Twitter. I guess I owe Twitter some clarification, now that I’ve realized a few things. I still don’t like using Twitter. But I actually think it has been quite the helpful service. See, there is enough content on the Internet. There’s so much content pumping through the veins of our networks trying to sort through it all would surely give anyone (even Google) a heart attack. While I won’t say that we don’t need more content — we do, and the purpose of the internet is just to amass an infinite amount of content — what we also need is a way to do more. Google’s success is based on the static data paradigm that we’ve been so used to: information is sitting, waiting for us to come find it. But now, enter the real-time data paradigm. Instant Facebook updates and Twitter tweets are the best examples of this: We don’t want to just send Google searching through a garbage dump of all the world’s information anymore. We want information to be brought to us, in the furtherance of our impatience due to technology.

This has been a long time coming – think of when we didn’t have email, instant messaging, and text messaging. How many of you would have an aneurysm if you were without your connectedness. I would. As our attachment to technology grows, the technology advances in a sort of natural selection way: the purposes for which we use the tech most and provide the most benefit to us will survive, and the purposes which are less favored don’t advance. We like things instantly. We like things before we ask for them, even. When we send an email, we want a response right after. We’re fast-paced. This isn’t new. But we’re only getting faster. And with that, the static-data paradigm is going to face resistance from the real-time paradigm that is quicker, more direct, and easier to get information out of.
Twitter can be used as real time search, not just a “tell everyone that I’m going to the bathroom” tool. People are pumping their thoughts, information, content through Twitter, and we can see instantly any trend for any subject in any part of the world. Look at the (supercool) Hype Machine for music as an example.
This real-time data search stuff has been looming for awhile now. It’s booming and its going to keep booming. It is interesting though, that Twitter as a real time service is more important than Twitter as a social networking tool.
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