Thursday 26 February 2009

@Scobleizer snacks on your Twitter feed

Since my last post about Twitter, the mainstream media have begun talking heavily about it, mostly in quite disparaging terms. The Times got a bunch of psychologists to give their opinions on the whole thing. Here's an example:
The clinical psychologist Oliver James: “Twittering stems from a lack of identity. It’s a constant update of who you are, what you are, where you are. Nobody would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity.”

Needless to say, this irked the Twitter digerati, who might just have a point when they say these quacks don't "get it".

Robert Scoble, the self-styled "tech geek blogger" has a following of over 60,000 and himself follows some 70,000.

For many people, such a large number of followers is getting close to Twitter heaven. Guy Kawasaki, founding partner of VC firm Garage, has even more followers than Scoble and reckons that's all that matters. He says:
The reason you want more followers is the law of big numbers: the more followers, the more people talking about what you do, the more you can reach the tipping point. If you think you “know” exactly who can and will help you, you are deluding yourself.

Scoble disagrees. He reckons it's more important to choose whom you follow. He admits, however, that out of every 10,000 tweets only three twinkle: the rest are twaddle.
I don't need to read EVERY tweet. That's a bad assumption. I just need to read those that matter to me... I follow you all to "media snack" and look at patterns.

Scoble uses Tweetdeck to filter tweets for certain keywords. He hasn't told us what these are. But anyone can use this technique to become more informed about specific matters of interest.

So the twain, Kawasaki and Scoble, are proponents of quite different approaches to Twitter. And in fairness, neither have any resemblance to the stuff that the Times objects to.

The reason for so much disagreement about 'what' Twitter is, 'why' use it and 'how', is that it brings differing value to people. Kawasaki wants to inform; Scoble, to be informed.

At least those are their apparent strategies on Twitter. But perhaps, like most people, they just want to be loved. So that when they're twitching in the twilight of their lives, they can feel twined 'twixt the warp of the social twill.