drwex (drwex) wrote,

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The Phatic Function

... or more on Ambient Intimacy

If I take the lack of response to my last post correctly it means nobody who reads my LJ uses Twitter. That's not hugely surprising, but it is slightly disappointing. The reason is that it has been argued that one cannot properly understand the value and use of Twitter unless one uses it as part of a fairly connected social network.

I thought that was a bunch of crap but am now waffling in my opinion in part due to a good piece on disambiguity.com discussing Twitter. (It's not as long a read as it seems - there are just a lot of comments after the posting.)

The blogger there, Leisa Reichelt, makes the point that Twitter is a lot like irc used to be, an app you left on just to see people come and go and to serve as a channel for lightweight chat. Of course, irc offers no barriers to more complex or prolonged conversations, which appealed to me back in the days when I was part of an irc channel set. I don't think Twitter has that, but I'm intrigued enough to want to try it, if I can get some useful experience out of it.

Back when I was a PhD student we had a similar issu with the systems we were building. I used to call it the "cast of thousands" problem - the software we were writing made no sense for one person, very little sense for a few people, and really was aimed at a cast of thousands. Now we have thousands of people using Twitter and its ilk - what's the value and experience they're getting from it?
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