learning by observing: musing about Twitter

I don’t know whether it’s driven by innate curiosity, or whether I’m just wired that way: I learn best by watching someone do something. And, because of that bias, I believe in using examples wherever possible, stories, analogies, screenshots, whatever. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a picture with a few supporting words could be worth ten thousand.

Most readers of this blog are by now well aware of Google Maps, of mashups, of Twitter, maybe even of Twittervision, some less than others. No matter. As long as you’re curious about what these terms mean, and, more importantly, what they can mean for you. How you can derive value from them, as a person, as an enterprise.

Well, thanks to Super Tuesday, here’s your chance. Go here and see what’s happening; if your timezone permits you, and if you’re interested, watch the activity from 8pm EST, as the polls close and the results start pouring in. It will give you an idea of three things:

The power of combination, of “mashing”: how “static” data (like a map) can be overlaid with “volatile” data (like conversations)
The power of context, of “enrichment” : how it is possible to take a “firehose” of information and break it down to capillary size, just by using tools that embed the information in context
The power of collaboration, of “many”: how individuals operating with modern tools can provide us with detailed information as it happens

Here’s a screenshot of what’s happening now, but to get the real value, take a look at the site after 8pm EST. An aside. Some people hold the opinion that CNN made its bones on Desert Storm. It may well be that Twitter makes its bones on this election. The tool could not have been timed better.


Let me know what you think

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