Sickness In the Time of Twitter

sick day So here I am on Day 2 of feeling sick. “Sick,” in this case, started out as all over achey, thumping head, and excessive bodily functions. Today, it’s mostly been the bodily functions. Hooray. But, as with everything in my life, I try to learn from my experiences.


When I’d wake up from nap #41, or come back from bathroom trip #37, I caught myself just glancing bleary-eyed at Twitter to see how people were getting on in the world. In case you’re still not onboard, Twitter is a “keep in touch” service, that lets you communicate with a group of people via SMS, IM, or the Web. The essential question Twitter asks all day long is, “What are you doing?” And you answer.

Here’s a random copy of the last six or seven twitters on my group list:

Bryper I would consider it if I could elect to receive messages from certain friends … rather than all 51. I’m sure Twitter will get there. 6 minutes ago from web
BJMcCray Learning new painting techniques…online of course 7 minutes ago from web
joshleo It’s 3:15, Lucky Charms time! 10 minutes ago from web
ericskiff @bryper – yes, I was getting some messages on my cellphone last night, and had to turn that feature off. One came through at 12:30!
Bryper Does one actually *receive* messages on their mobile phone as well?
Clintus @Zadi – that is like the worst news ever. Especially since your traveling and you just got there.
dhowell Pretending, via greenscreen, to be underwater 17 minutes ago from txt

There are hundreds more. I have 270 friends on my Twitter list, and they send out a message on average of once an hour. Now, all 270 don’t go to my cell, but if I pop open the web browser, I see the larger story of the folks I follow. Sometimes, as above, you see little sideways conversations. Other times, people randomly align on an instant meme (food seems to be a common one).

What’s the VALUE of Twitter? Hard to say. I like it because I feel “connected.” It reminds me of cyberpunk stories where everyone feels the web moving around them, and feels like they hear everything.

But Instant Messenger is like that, right? Wrong. IM requires direct one-on-one conversation. It requires thinking, communicating, rehashing.

Twitter as a Tool

Twitter reminds us to stay in touch. It tells our friends that we’re still here. It says, “I see you.” But there’s more.

Twitter is good for:

  • Inviting online friends to an impromptu gathering.
  • Tapping a lot of people’s opinion at once.
  • Getting quick recommendations.
  • Asking for directions.

What else? What do YOU use Twitter for? And if you’re NOT on Twitter, what don’t you like about it?

My Twitter name: chrisbrogan. Add me today. : )

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