I have blogged for two plus years and have participated and discovered without ever using RSS (I have a Goole Reader account). While in Cancun, I checked TechMeme a few times, but Twitter a few times a day.
I would tell you why, again , but Russell explains it better than I have . Twitter should hire him for PR. Hopefully that gets you aboard, at least for stocks. I wish I had pushed harder to get in the syndicate :) .
I still can’t get why with a perfect stock communication system that Twitter is and the power it offers stock smartypants, that people still use handles and impersonal pictures.
Listen to Russel:
Think about any other online community system ever created – from Usenet to The WELL, IRC to Slashdot to Digg. All of them have had to deal with the core problem of idiots on the Internet. Slashdot’s extended karma system, or IRCs multiple moderation commands, Digg’s diggs, etc. are all about filtering out the assholes. It’s a fact – anytime a virtual group gets to a certain size, the morons come and start doing their best to disrupt, defraud or degrade the audience.
Twitter, however, has almost a million members, a thriving community, lots of discussions and yet doesn’t have spam or troll issues. If step back for a second and think about it, that’s pretty amazing.
Miker actually turned me on to this concept the other day while we were talking about community features for Mowser. The asymmetry of the friending process isn’t just a convenience it’s core to Twitter’s ability to keep conversations spam and troll free. Of course, right? You only follow the people you want to listen to, just like I subscribe only to those blogs I want to read. But the inverse of that is I only get to say stuff to the people who are following me – which means that if I am an idiot, I only get to bother those people who are stupid enough to follow me. The effect is sort of a decentralized moderation system….
Slowly over time, as you are responded to by your contacts, others will follow you as well, and your “voice” becomes heard by wider group of people. It’s a microcosm of how blogging works, actually (which makes perfect sense for a microblogging service). And if you think about it, it’s actually more akin to how a group of people in a town hall might act in person as well… Some people might think, “Shhh! Russell is speaking!” and others might think, “Oh, god that asshole Russell is on his soapbox again…” but if enough other people are listening, you might still pay attention. Anyways, I’ve digressed off into the social structure of groups, to which I have little if any real understanding, but it’s still interesting to see.
What’s for sure is that I can follow and friend hundreds or even thousands of people chatting on Twitter, and I don’t have to worry about getting any suggestions that my penis size is too small (I make a point not to follow ex-wives/girlfriends), get any anonymous stock tips, nor anyone telling me that now is the time to refinance my home. Nor do I have to suffer fools or jerks for more than the time it takes me to click the “Remove” button on their home page.
Again, I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty astounding.
I love blogging and will never stop, but Twitter is way more valuable to me than RSS although people will argue otherwise.