This is a quick post in response to Dougald’s very insightful post Why journalists write so much rubbish about Twitter
There is one question in the comments that hasn’t been picked up by anyone yet.
I’m still not clear on *why* you find twitter so useful. What is it about the medium that generates these conversations you mention?
From my view, the one thing the combination of twitter and blogging has done for me, is nothing less than to allow me to have complete personal authenticity.
I’m an individual – and who cares?
You know how we all are a mix of experiences, inclinations, pet hates, opinions, skills… the list can go on. In normal daily social exchanges, we never ever get to the bottom of all of these because how many opportunities for deep and personal conversations do we have? And how long does it take to build relationships to let people see what we’re really into? And how likely is it that we’ll ever find even one person that we’re completely happy to share our depth with? And who cares anyways?
The very simple fact is that in my blog, once I got over the initial hurdles of trying to sound like something I’m not (a good writer), or trying to be businesslike, or brilliant, or anything else I’m not – I realised that the real me, with all the shortcomings but also unique experiences I’ve had, was a lot more interesting for people to read about. And suddenly I had a bunch of people I had deep, meaningful relationships with.
Same thing on twitter. Just being authentic on twitter seems a small thing but for many people it’s a huge step, first realising what they are really about, and then just simply expressing that. It’s as big (or for some people unthinkable) as closing the gap between the disconnected existence of work, pub, home.
Twitter=short but sweet
Twitter, then, teaches us that small is beautiful. The blog gives the option to go into depth about what is being talked about. But we like small bits of news to give us a choice about what we want to go into.
I think that’s why twitter and new ways of working are so closely intertwined. Because the people who are changing their way of working from old models to new ones – as “web workers”, for example – are also the people who are very authentic about their work = there is no disconnect between their “work” and their “private life”. They tend to have a huge amount of passion and it tends to show naturally in their way of socialising online and offline. They also tend to have a huge amount of fun (a rather sweeping statement which I can’t back up by research. But follow us on twitter and you’ll see)
The Time element
As a result of all of this, twitter becomes a social media tool where passionate, innovative people talk all day long about what they are really about. If you want to find out more about them you click through to their blogs. You’ll follow them, hence being able to form a realistic (“authentic“) picture of the person.
And thus, you build up a strong, connected network of great people.
To me, it’s as simple as that.