The best thing to come out of Google buying the social site Jaiku is that it has put Twitter on the attention map of many people again. Every second article, report or blog post about the Jaiku acquisition draws a comparison with the service offered by Twitter.
And that's good. Because Twitter deserves a lot of attention: your attention.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a place where you can post short (140 characters max., a limit directly related to the 140 max. limit of SMS text messages) status updates on what you're doing, thinking, eating, reading, etc.
People can "follow" you and see your updates on their Twitter page.
You can "follow" people and see their updates on your Twitter page.
You can address a specific person in this stream of messages by pre-fixing their Twitter name with @ -- as in @RuudHein.
How can you use Twitter?
At first glance, and especially at first glance of Twitter's public timeline page, Twitter serves no other purpose than to let people who don't care know about things that don't matter; "Had a sandwich", "It's raining", "Fall Guy is SO yesterday".
That's the first glance, though.
Just as mass-forwarded "Send this to 10 friends" emails do not break the real usefulness of email, so the above messages do not define or limit what Twitter can be and most often is about.
They post short ideas about breaking news. URL's to full stories they do. A remark, a comment, on something they just read.
What it makes for is interesting reading, up to the minute sharpness. This is a snapshot of Scoble's stream yesterday:
News about Google buying Jaiku was on Twitter before it hit any news outlet. Not uncommon.
The option to interact is amazing, taking news and event analysis to another level.
Why you should use Twitter
You should use Twitter for the same reason you shouldn't be absent from the web: visibility.
None of the above is an absolute need on its own. It is the big picture that counts. It's face time, it's mind share. Exposure. Visibility.
You can use Twitter as a person to network with people in your industry. To communicate with clients. To be an open company.
You can use Twitter as a company to inform and be involved.
When can we expect you?
- What Twitter is
- Did Jaiku just become a sacrifical lamb for the GPhone?
- Google & Jaiku: It's About Mobility
- Ruud Hein's Twitter stream