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As part of my plan to become the Internet...
I still maintain that Twitter is, in and of itself, useless. As Edward pointed out, it's either being used to send messages from A to B (which is what instant messaging does) or to make vague declarations (which is what instant messaging away messages do).

Though it does differ in one way - by signing up to "follow" a person, there's this implicit notion that you actually want to read what they have to say. Which in turn creates an obligation to create content worth reading. That this obligation is often ignored possibly undermines that a little, but still...

So what use is an instant messaging website with limited functionality and a severely prohibitive message length?

The answer is under the hood, in the way that it works, and more importantly, the way in which it interacts with the outside world. In fact, due to the way in which the interfaces work, Twitter is one of those things that can't be put back in the box after it's out. Company firewalls cannot effectively block Twitter because all the site is is an interface in itself onto a backend, which any site can access.

So for example, anonybot posts stats to Twitter every day, sends ad hoc messages when events are triggered, replies to people who send it messages on Twitter, and stores every message it receives. Should I so wish, I could put a frontend onto the bot within my own website, which would enable me to use just about any Twitter functionality I wanted.

That means you can build limitless copies of Twitter on other servers, all talking to the same central messaging server. If you so wished, you could build two completely un-twitter-like sites, which are able to exchange information between one another by using twitter as a conduit for batch data. If you really wanted...

For instance, I have a form on my website that I can use to post to Twitter, either as myself, or as the bot. I also have a page on my website that displays recent "tweets". That's basically all you need - if my computer could never access twitter.com again, it wouldn't affect me.

But it goes beyond that - once you're interacting with it programmatically, you can use it almost as a command line interface to whatever web service your site offers. By structuring their request accordingly, people could use it to request information on your products, to get the latest news headline, to order a service...

But why do that instead of just offering those options on a website?

Because a website offers an "experience" rather than a "conversation". You can plaster it with advertisements, cross-sell whatever you like, but you're not generating customer engagement by doing that. However, get the customer to "ask" for something. You can answer them, perhaps give them something else to talk to you about. Build up a dialogue, get the customer interested, and if you really want to sell them something, swap out your automated agent for a human one to get the conversation going on a more interactive level.

In any case, it's quite interesting from a technology point of view, and it's been made with developers in mind. That, to me, is exciting.

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I can tell you that it's not useless. Because of my twitter network, that's how I was located for the HP Magic giveaway and at least two other giveaways. I have also found many a writing opportunity because of twitter.

Sure, if you're using it solely to tell your friends how often you are scratching your ass, it might seem pointless. But I've seen blogs boost their readership, writers find jobs and when real, physical jobs have been lost, people have jumped to their aid to help them find something new.

I now also have contacts at the NBC station in Columbus which has gotten my husband's fire dept some more air time. It's just a general win in our family. It makes us money and allows us to have fun. I'll take that.

I can tell you that it's not useless. Because of my twitter network, that's how I was located for the HP Magic giveaway and at least two other giveaways. I have also found many a writing opportunity because of twitter.

Ah, but that isn't some special property unique to Twitter.. I'm not saying that using it is without use, but as a service itself, it doesn't (on the face of it) appear to add anything new or unique to the Internet.

I do go on to heavily contradict that assertion anyway as I ramble on... :o)

True. I was already well known simply because of my blog and had queries coming in almost daily about various reviews and giveaways. The point is that it has brought in a larger network than I had previously. Some of the people I now communicate with on a regular basis are big, big time bloggers. Also, the PR reps have found the use of twitter. They are ALL OVER twitter. I have a new one add me almost daily. The Super Bowl giveaway that I hosted was due to a PR agent adding me after I had mentioned the Steelers in a tweet.

You can tell me that it doesn't add anything new or unique to the internet. I could probably see your argument of "new" but it is unique in the fact that people are able to quickly respond to queries and needs and create a larger network than is possible on the "traditional" blogosphere. Taking PR reps specifically into account here, they no longer have to sort through long blog posts. They can simply do a twitter search for who is talking about what and contact accordingly. Of course, that can also bite you in the ass as one of my ad revenue companies was turned down for a big job because the company in question found too many negative tweets about the ad revenue company on twitter.

Also, the PR reps have found the use of twitter. They are ALL OVER twitter.

Ah. Well, quite possibly in the US, but over here, people are generally crap at using the Internet for anything productive. The best anyone does is anthropomorphicising "The Blogosphere" into some weird all knowing gestalt manifestation of "What the Internet thinks", and news stations proudly proclaim that "The Blogosphere Says X", without getting what they're saying. Honestly, it's just embarrassing :o(

I will never be a famous blogger at this rate...

Set the trend, James. Be American! ;)

I should start a class, no?

That userpic looks nothing like you.

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