Getting Twitty Wit It

In my articles about the iPad, I’ve mentioned the old world/new world computing paradigm that I gleaned from another author. Today I read an article, 120 is the new 140, that got me thinking about this paradigm in a different arena – that of social networking and some differences between Twitter and Facebook. Basically, I think that ease-of-use is an issue that way too many people undervalue, but one that may make or break the future of social networking services.

The basic use of Twitter is very simple. Post something to share it with others. I think that is why Twitter became so popular. From there, though, Twitter has started to get a bit more complicated. Firstly, you must keep your post under 140 characters. Many people wonder why 140 characters? That’s because SMS text messages from cell phones can only be 140 characters and posting from text messages was how Twitter got started. But in today’s world, is a 140 character limit really necessary?

But the 140 character limit is honestly just a nitpick. What I am really more concerned with is the increasingly complicated lexicon of Twitter. Some days it is a chore to check Twitter because so much of what is written is broken up by hash tags #, at symbols @, RT, HT, OH, and short URLs Reading it is one thing. A non-technical user trying to keep up with all these terms and concepts can be downright daunting. Referring to the article I mentioned, as social networking continues to grow, will non-technical users continue to put up with needing to manipulate their posts in such ways?

Compared with Facebook, Twitter can seem like using a 1980’s DOS computer. Twitter has been trying to make things simpler and many of the third-party Twitter utilities also can attempt to simplify things. But that also speaks to another point of confusion with Twitter. There are so many third-party Twitter tools out there that it can be confounding just trying to understand which tool to use. Non-technical users are going to give up quickly. Facebook is basically Facebook. The vast majority of users interface with Facebook from a web browser. Most mobile Facebook apps come from Facebook themselves, so even that experience is fairly consistent.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really like a lot of things that Twitter does. But I fear that Twitter may have its roots too engrained in the old world of technology. Due to ease-of-use issues, I’m not sure Twitter will be able to transition into the new world as well as a service like Facebook. What does that mean for you? Maybe nothing for the short-term, but for those planning long-term social networking strategies, it may be something worth paying attention to.

Twitter Down, FaceBook Frustrated, Conan Tounge-Tied

So the big news of yesterday was that of Twitter’s and FaceBook’s problems. It seems that rouge hackers launched a politically motivated denial-of-service (DOS) attack against one particular blog. The fact that Twitter and FaceBook were affected was “merely” a side-effect.

What is really revealing is just how big of a deal this was. I read a good article talking about how people were freaking out during the event. This wasn’t 9/11 we were talking about, it was “the day Twitter was down”! A quote from that article I think sums it up quite nicely.

What may prove more lasting about the day social networking suffered its first major blackout is the degree to which people cared. Near-panic erupted in some corners of the Internet as people lost cherished links to their online friends, family members and news feeds.

I’ve said it a few times, but the speed in which social networking has grown in the last year is phenomenal. No way this event was as big of a deal two years ago or even one year ago.

During his monolouge tonight while commenting on the Twitter and FaceBook situation, Conan O’Breien kept saying “FaceBox” after a joke involving Sarah Palin and an X-Box. No word on if he was hacked.

NFL Teams Look to Tackle Tweeting

I heard an interesting segment on a sports radio program today where a member of the media was commenting how NFL teams are unhappy that the media and fans are using Twitter to post comments about things they are observing during the current NFL pre-season training camps. Various NFL teams are attempting to stop the unrestrained tweeting by employing methods ranging from simply requesting the media not use Twitter to banning Twitter usage by fans during practices. Some teams are also trying to ban media members from using Twitter on their cell phone while on the sidelines for the upcoming regular season.

I just thought that this was a very interesting revelation as to how social media has grown so quickly over the last year. The Twitter “problem” was absolutely non-existent during last year’s NFL training camp yet it seems to be on the minds of every team’s management this year.

White House now on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace

If you weren’t yet aware of how big social networking is getting, this should serve as a wake-up call. The White House has now created a Facebook page, set up a Twitter account, and also created a MySpace page. Apparently, all this went on-line late last week and over the weekend. Watch for this new turn of events to ratchet up the publicity about social networking.

Read more about it at Computerworld’s site

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