Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Twitter Question

There used to be a generation which thinks ideas can be stolen. A closed generation, a generation which thinks sneezing can be patented and that would be cool. That generation is slowly dying. Today's generation wants to share. Share what they think, do, feel, opine, laugh and cry about. Believing in the fact that knowledge silos are passe' and tomorrow's world will live by collaborating openly than we do.

I have my blog, I am a member of orkut, facebook and LinkedIn. But nothing prepared me to what twitter was. I wanted to express why twitter was "different" for me. Orkut and Facebook were places for me to catch up with friends. It was always about people I know though most people think differently, I consciously ensure that only people I know are in my circle. LinkedIn was a way of connecting professionally. Being able to connect to both friends and strangers by virtue of common interest or the fact that the connect will be helpful professionally. At the end of the day, I used Orkut and Facebook as a means of ensuring I am upto date with what my friends are doing. My blog had sporadic activity from me since I never felt I can keep writing paragraphs.

Facebook and Orkut encouraged Micro Blogging is some sense, Facebook using updates and Orkut using scraps...but I have never felt the urge to "update" fb or orkut for I dont know what reasons. Enter Twitter.

When I first registered to twitter I was a confused soul. I did not know how I am going to use it or how it will really matter. Infact I didnt understand one bit of what was happening when I first entered, when my cousin told me it will take time to get used it. For me, the single most important change I had to encounter was the fact that twitters rules were different. Here anybody can follow anybody, the darn thing was completely open, unlike facebook or orkut which was personal and restricted and had friend requests. I mean you can read the CTO of cisco wanting to hug her kids in the same breath as visiting Russia for a tech deal. You can read about the CEO of HCL wishing best of luck to kids writing the board exams in the same breath as talking about the indian budget and our hockey team.

For the first time I saw how open this was. But not everybody uses twitter for the same things. I have seen over the past weeks people using it primarily for professional reasons. I have seen PR consultants and Social Media gurus, tweet up links. I have also seen real time updates on the The Carlton Towers fire, Sachin's double hundred and people just tweeting about life, love and their dog all mixed and all confident that their thoughts matter and people respond! 

I think the most important difference between a traditional blog and twitter is not the length. Its the realtime feedback that you get. You know people are reading it and when its 140 characters people really want to say something. This is EMI for Blogs!

The most significant fact is that I quickly formed a circle of people I have never seen. I tweet and they respond and its as if we have been friends all along! I have @omniprasan my cousin who will be tomorrows CEO Entrepreneur @mad_nad who breaks ice with me whenever she is pissed with her cold, @PPrakash a buddy who made me feel at home from day one, @surekhapillai who refuses to reply to even one tweet:), @suja_s who is incredibly polite, @miilee who finds me whenever she searches and whole lot of others like @sudhamshu, @vidyavenkat,@DrDheep...the list goes on. None of these people know me personally. But we know each other! This was the single most important lesson I learnt. I had access to people from various backgrounds who were ready to help me. 

I havent fully grabbed in entirety what twitter will be tomorrow. But I already know that twitter is a door to a different world. A world where people share fearlessly, a world leading to tomorrow.


Sudhamshu said...

This is a very frank post about how you discover Twitter. Good to read about how people use/abuse the service and you politely dwell on the positives. I am certain you will be able to discover newer ways of using it, just like the rest of us are learning a new thing everyday!
Thank you for mentioning me in the post too, but you have mis-spelt my name here. Considering it's about Twitter, your reply didn't reach me!

Prakash P said...

This is a cool narration of how a new entrant to Twitter feels. Even we all have crossed through all these.. And sure you will make a good bunch of friends here... :-)

suja said...

Good Luck Rajesh with your Technical Rant blog. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the mention about 'polite' me :)
Best wishes always,

Prasanna said...

Anna, I know you will soon rule the Twitter too. Welcome!
Did you call me future CEO? You never told this when we meet :P