Saturday, July 11, 2009

Getting back to it and thinking about Twitter and other things

How many blog posts are there out there in the world (wide web) which are mostly apologies for the lack of recent posts and the promise to be a little more productive starting ... now?

I've certainly read a lot ... I know that I've written several.

So, I'm not going to explicitly say any of that ;-)

Its true that much of what I would have blogged from a personal interest point of view finds an outlet on Twitter, which I still haven't decided whether its an incredibly useful communications tool or an ill conceived, perhaps even evil distraction.

Its true, that my good friend, colleague and collaborator Imran and I momentarily found our conversation falter when we last met up in person as pretty much every piece of news we had for each other was met with a reply of "Yeah, I know, I saw your Tweet!". Of course many have tried and failed to halt our free ranging, stream of consciousness tangent spinning conversations in the past, and so we were back on track before very long - but the whole experience set me thinking....

... There is a surface level at which Twitter and to a lesser extent facebook status reports and their like, appear to keep one informed as to the activities of one's nearest and dearest (and furthest and not-so-dearest for that matter), but there is of course a great deal of substance and context missing. Imran and I were indeed apprised of each other's news, but it took a proper conversation to understand any of it with any depth. In much the same way that a picture postcard doesn't render the post holiday story conversations superfluous.

A slightly different example occurred last night with reference to my friend Zoonie. Now I consider Zoonie a friend even though we haven't been co-located in at least two and a half years and most of our contact has been through various social network apps rather than direct conversation exchange. I like the fact that I kinda feel abreast of whats going on in her life. However, last night I saw a stream of tweets from her which sounded fascinating but due to a context gap I had absolutely no idea whatsoever as to what the comments were all about. I was left trying to piece things together by cross-referencing all the other places that I know Zoonie's digital life leaves a trail.

A few years ago I was working with the guys at Calico Jack on system which would pull together conversations into contextually related bundles across telephony, email and IM. Throw in things like twitter, social networks and other personal publishing apps, such as Flickr and the concept seems more relevant than ever. Which, of course is what Google wave could start to unlock.

So, I guess right now I can see the value of Twitter as a stream of flags, conceptual pointers or log entries alluding to deeper activity; the missing piece for me right now is the mechanism to explore the depth or at least, fill in the gaps.

Or maybe I should just be happy with twitter supplying a list of topics to talk about next time I get chance to have a proper conversation. The longer I work in technology, the more I discover the 'bits of life' that I don't want an automated solution for.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home