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Twitter, Misunderstood?

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Twitter, one of the first offerings from Ev Williams’ Obvious Corp., crossed the chasm and became passe at the same time at the South by South West gathering in Austin, Texas earlier this month. Even Wall Street Journal decided to weigh in on the topic.

Many of the complaints are issues we had brought up the first time we wrote about Twitter last year. From the wide range of reactions SMS is not a natural communications medium for a certain demographic that resides in the US. Europeans, Asians and rest of the planet seems to be at ease with the intrusiveness of SMS messages.

Same holds true for a new generation of mobile Americans – the tweens, teens and those who still get their jollies from the college team’s performance during the March Madness. Narendra Rocherolle, co-founder of 30 Boxes sums it up nicely when he writes,

For those who see their mobile phone exclusively for utility, twitter may quickly become a nag. I have a higher threshold than most for new toys and was rewarded with the discovery of an entirely new use case.

WebWorkerDaily has come up with a list of eight ways Twitter can be useful professionally and why you shouldn’t use it for managing your to-do-list. You can also add GPS-based location data to your Twitter plans using a mobile widget from uLocate, available on the site.

11 Responses to “Twitter, Misunderstood?”

  1. Am I the only one sick and tired of hearing about slow US adoption of SMS? That only the teens are sending these intrusive messages?

    Take a look at the stats and it will show the real story. Ex. the average SMS user in the US is 36 years old (..and getting older). Deal No Deal is doing alright, driving 1 million+ messages a night at $0.99 a pop. Better yet, its target demo is women, 36-54 yrs old. Same goes for American Idol….

    The SMS adoption is booming in the US and we keep doubling our usage every year. We’ll keep seeing fantastic usage now that traditional media players in radio and TV are integrating it into their programming. Let’s leave the “slow adoption” stories once and for all.

  2. Jesse Kopelman

    Om, I think your age ranges are a bit off. I think anyone under 35, in the US, is pretty comfortable with SMS — not just twenty-somethings and younger. Whether they are comfortable with Twitter’s implementation or even their carrier’s SMS billing scheme is another question.

    broadstuff, the key to Shannon’s law is how you define information. If you and I agreed that the code 0101 would represent a specific 100 MB file you already had on your computer, it would seem that I can transmit 100 MB to you by only using a four bits. That is not the case, however. For the purpose of the law, a bit is just a bit, regardless of what it may mean to you. Under the law, useful information is that which is meaningful without any a priori knowledge. So, a QAM16 constellation can at most represent 4 bits of data and nothing more. Using a cryptographic method to make those 4 bits represent some larger set of data is complete irrelevant and outside of Shannon’s Law.

  3. It is bizarre how quickly it moved from hot app of the moment to passe, at least in local circles at any rate. It makes me wonder whether people who are not early adopters will hear about apps that rise and fall so quickly.

  4. I think that the tool has potential to be more useful if some changes are made to the product. As it stands now, at least from a professional standpoint & gathering information, I currently find it somewhat lacking & doesn’t give users enough control over what they receive.

    I do think that this is a service that can take off with teens, college students & overseas markets.

  5. Om,

    I do think that one of the driving forces in twitter’s uptick (outside of the buzz) is that they have made a range of inputs and outputs (such as web and IM) to allow people to participate in the stream.

    Third parties are jumping in as well with products like twitterific. And for those people who want mobile but not SMS, 30 Boxes has put out twapper to allow wap browsing. We also be integrating our buddy updates (your online life stream) into twapper as well.