Whenever I come across a new social media tool, I don’t tend to jump in just to be cool, I’m way too old for that. [Sometimes I have to wait anyway, because the thing is in private beta and for some reason private betas find it hard to cross the Atlantic, even in the 21st century.] Most of the time, I sign up and then watch. I try and see what people do with the tool. Which is not necessarily the same thing as what the tool was originally designed for. [I guess that comes from having children, and observing them as they develop, flower and come to maturity. A wonderful experience... ]
When I watch, there is some method to my madness. Once I get the hang of what people are doing with the tool, I start playing with it myself. And then I place three gates in the way, gates that must be passed before I really get engaged with the tool:
Gate 1: Is it a Martini thing, anytime anyplace anywhere?
Gate 2: Are the barriers to entry and participation sufficiently low?
Gate 3: Is there at least one thing I can do with this new thing, one thing I couldn’t do before with anything else?
This post is about Twitter’s Gate 3.
Someone started following me a few days ago, can’t remember who it was. I did the usual thing, a quick check on the person’s Twitter profile, a flit through to that person’s blog, a scan of the people being followed, a minds-eye snapshot of recent tweets and a courtesy “Return of the Follow“.
While doing that, I noticed a tweet from someone I hadn’t connected with for a while, Halley Suitt. Yes, a Suitt Tweet.Â [Try saying that quickly after a few drinks.]
What Halley said was interesting. She said “Best thing I’ve read all week”, while describing an article in the New Yorker. [And thank you, New Yorker, for not sticking the article behind a paywall".]
Now that’s useful.
Blog Friends and equivalents let me know what a person’s surfing, Facebook mini feeds show me what someone’s sharing, there are many social bookmarking tools and RSS readers available, there are even shared readers available.
But so far none of them gives me this kind of information as succinctly as Twitter. Now of course the value didn’t come directly from Twitter, it came from Halley. I know Halley. I know she reads a lot. And I trust her opinions, without having to agree with all of them. And when she says “Best thing I’ve read all week” I sit up and take notice. I take a look. I wander over to where she points.
And boy was I glad I did. This is the article she pointed me towards: Twilight of The Books: A Critic At Large.
Fascinating article. There’s a lot I want to say/ask/share about it, but I’ll leave it for a separate post. Tomorrow.
In the meantime, maybe some of you out there have similar examples of stuff you can do with Twitter you couldn’t do before. In this particular instance what got me excited was how person A could let others (others who were interested in Person A’s opinions on a particular subject) know about an object and its rating simply and efficiently.
Comments and views?