Twitter: A social barometer?


I'm not an early adopter of technology.  What I mean by that is, I don't acquire technology for the sake of having new technology.  To be of value, technology has to enable me to do something that I would love to do, either because I couldn't do it well, or at all, before the new technology came along.  And the less I have to interact with the technology itself, the better. 

When I first heard of Twitter, I wondered why on earth I would ever want to use it?  I still don't use it, but I'm now compelled to try.  Why?  I will have to admit that all the hype about the Zuckerberg/Lacy interview at the SXSW conference is what started it.  As I was reading Jeff Jarvis' post, I realized that Twitter was allowing people to know the news in real time.  There was no waiting for tomorrow's paper, or tonight's blog.  In fact, if Lacy had used the medium to her advantage, she could have course corrected during the interview.  The fact that she didn't has been the topic of many other blogs and articles.

I was impressed by the power of a tool like Twitter in the media.  There is no wondering what individuals thought.  It was right there.  There was a swarm, so we knew something important was happening.  Yes, everyone has biases which cannot be filtered out.  But this real-time coverage was powerful.

It also raises a new issue to consider.  Instead of just considering personal biases, we now need to worry about Twitter's potential to foster group-think.  If the discussion wasn't public, would people answer differently?  Would you have the courage to stand out among your peers?

I'll let you know when I actually use Twitter.  I usually find myself too engrossed in what I'm doing to stop and Twitter about it.  But we'll see if that need changes.