Twits- sorry tweets

The working name was just “Status” for a while. It actually didn’t have a name. We were trying to name it, and mobile was a big aspect of the product early on … We liked the SMS aspect, and how you could update from anywhere and receive from anywhere.

We wanted to capture that in the name—we wanted to capture that feeling: the physical sensation that you’re buzzing your friend’s pocket. It’s like buzzing all over the world. So we did a bunch of name-storming, and we came up with the word “twitch,” because the phone kind of vibrates when it moves. But “twitch” is not a good product name because it doesn’t bring up the right imagery. So we looked in the dictionary for words around it, and we came across the word “twitter,” and it was just perfect. The definition was “a short burst of inconsequential information,” and “chirps from birds.” And that’s exactly what the product was.

Jack Dorsey

140 characters; well let’s see:

Got up, had cup of tea and toast and marmalade for breakfast.

Went to supermarket. Was raining but not really hard. New wiper blades worked a treat.  Missed lunch too busy. Phone call from friend who has just had a lovely time in Wittering. Sorry I’m wittering; or is that twittering?

I’m really sorry but could anyone explain why this is so popular?

36 thoughts on “Twits- sorry tweets”

  1. Not me.

    140 characters… hmmm. Mine would read:

    Woke 5ish coughing. Tea & wrote a draft. Drove to school. Shopping, class, coffee at friend’s, garden centre;later pub in lieu of bookgroup

  2. Not me Ara, I think one has to be under twenty to understand. You seem to be a twitterphobe or have developed a twittertude in your most recent twaffic, unless of course you intended a twitticism.

  3. Hi Nym: I would find it really difficult to write anything meaningful but I suppose less is
    sometimes more.

    The only advantage I can see, is that id you have a Twitter account you can comment on posts on the new MyT without logging in. Let us hope they close this loophole soon. It sounds like a charter for spammers and trolls.

  4. Very good LW.

    OK, that has put me right off. There must be a point to it all though. I asked my daughters if they were twitters, or should that be twitterers and they just looked at me and said no, it’s sad.
    They may of course be a bit old for this sort of thing now, they are over twenty.

  5. I use a similar, but open-source system, Identi.ca – exclusively to pimp my blog and promote an adult writing site I’m part of. That’s about it. Following anyone else would be way too much work.

  6. Thank goodness for net spiders… If you put it out there, people will (eventually) find it, and traffic will ensue.

  7. Evenin’, Araminta – Nope, can’t be doing with MyFace, SpaceBook et al. Too busy getting on with life. Having said that, at the quiet end of this night I’ve just been idly rattling a stick in ‘Emmett’s cage on t’other side. Maybe I need help?

    🙂

    OZ

  8. Evening OZ.

    Yes, I saw your disgraceful lapse Elsewhere, but as long as you don’t twitter, I suppose there is hope! 🙂

  9. I suppose i must leap to the defence of the twit here, being one. No time now. Considered reply later 🙂

  10. I don’t know anything about ‘twitter’ – the name was enough to deter me from finding out about it, and your description has simply reinforced my intention not to get involved!

  11. I signed up when it first launched to see what it was all about. Nothing was the answer to that, so my account has been dormant ever since. It is strange that I stillget the odd email informingme that so-and-so is following me on Twitter. Following what I have no idea… There are some sad types out there in cyberland.

  12. Morning Jan.

    Yipee, another fan of Twitter! I’m desperate for some one to “sell” it to me, so look for forward to your return. Not that I need any more ways to waste time in cyberspace, though. 😉 It’s raining at the moment so I am at my PC; well, that’s my excuse anyway!

  13. Quite right, Boadicea, “short burst of inconsequential information” multiplied by millions sounds like something I could well live without.

  14. I didn’t get as far as signing up, Bravo, but I had a quick look and decided it was not something that would enhance my life. I don’t like the sound of this “following” business; bit creepy when you think about it.

  15. Mornin’, Araminta – Is twittering any more mentally stimulating than working your way through a fortnight’s ironing with Radio 2 playing in the background? Such is my morning.

    Sob!

    OZ

  16. OZ: from what I seen your morning sounds terribly exciting by comparison.

    You should try Tweeting it, and you will have the world hanging on your every word waiting for your next fascinating communication. Doesn’t get much better than that!

  17. How about other social networking sites? I have a facebook account and find it useful and amusing keeping up with a far-flung network* of friends and relations?**

    I joined ‘Friends Reunited’ back in prehistory and found that useful in its time, too. Amongst others, I got back in touch, 50 -odd years on, with the gir***l who used to sit at the desk behind me in my first Infants’ School. For all the fuss and bother about these sites, they do have their uses, doncha think?

    * Tried to think of a less nerdy word and failed.
    ** Poor old Rabbit was one of my favourite Winnie the Pooh characters, along with Eeyore. (You may replace ‘was,’ with ‘is,’ if you like.)
    *** Yep, we have exchanged recent photos, but she will be forever four years old in my mind 🙂

  18. Oh, I agree Bravo. I’m not really anti any of these things. It’s just the time element. I have a Facebook account but don’t use it much. I tend to keep in touch with far flung friends and relations by email.

    My problem with Twitter is the size restriction more than anything else, but obviously some find it useful. Having just looked at this:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100042598/an-update-on-our-new-commenting-system/

    It seems that you can use your Twitter account to comment anywhere on the DT, without being logged in to the actual site. Judging by the number of times one now has to log in there per day, I suppose it could have its uses.

  19. Facebook is the best for keeping in touch with friends and family. If you are using that, and so are your friends, I find Twitter to be redundant. I can see their facebook wall posts very easily and can always comment on them. For business or professional networking online I recommend http://www.stanfordwhoswho.com.

    **Pooh always represented Gluttony, Eeyore was too much of a manic depressive for me. Rabbit was consumed with worry. Tigger, he lived in the moment. I liked Tigger.

  20. “Woke up, got out of bed
    Dragged a comb across my head.
    Found my way downstairs and drunk a cup
    And looking up I notice I was late.”

    (Name that tune in one)

  21. I got that too, Pseu. 🙂 Sorry Araminta, this is long but hey, I’m the only counsel for the defence of Twitter here, it seems, so….

    For a long time I was put off Twitter by the constant references in the papers to the enormous numbers of fans following celebrities like Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross. I imagined all these desperate acolytes signing in every day to read the concisely crafted little phrases that described the minutiae of celebrity life; the microscopic glimpses into the mundanities that we all share and the glitzy moments that we most definitely don’t.

    I wasn’t interested in any of that. I’m chiefly interested in sparkling wit, cycling news, writing and writers, biological sciences and music. So I signed up to Twitter and follow the kind of people that I hoped would provide all that. I also downloaded free software called Tweetdeck to organise the single constant stream of tweets under different headings.

    I don’t expect conversations with people. When they do crop up, with the few people across the world that I exchange opinions with, it’s good but the main attraction for me is the constant real-time stream of links that lead me to the kind of news and “just out” information I want to read. When major events happen anywhere in the world – excepting China and the Great Firewall – they are being described in real time on Twitter.

    I don’t always manage to log in every day but I post links to my blogs and this and other sites from there. Little point in blogging if no-one reads them! Twitter is the reason the writer Darrel Kirby turned up here, for instance.

    It’s one of those things that can take as short a time as you like or as long as you like. I follow a selection of people including those comedy writers at whose feet I would happily sit, including Graham Linehan (Father Ted), Kevin Cecil & Andy Riley (Black Books) etc.

    Oh and if you work in an area where networking is useful, Twitter has specialist interest groups or (sorry about this, it is truly awful!) twibes where, for instance, neurologists from all over the world exchange ideas and information.

    We live in a very connected age. Facebook and “networking” sites have their limitations. Newspaper feeds have their limitations. What Twitter offers is a one-source gateway to the real-time world. I like it!

  22. My Learned Friend, Counsel for the Defence of Twits, sorry Tweets, aka Jan QC

    I have to applaud your spirited apologia and thank you most sincerely for the impassioned and beautifully constructed rebuttal of the Prosecution’s case.

    However, and taking into account the introduction of Father Ted and etc, which I deem to be frankly outside the scope of this case, and sneaky, I have to rule that despite your personal enjoyment of said Networking Facility, that I may take another look, but REAL TIME WORLD! Cripes, I thought I was living in it, but I fear I am lagging behind and lacking a dimension somewhere.

    I shall ponder. 🙂

  23. I have trouble with it. Just can’t connect. Probably because I heard an interview with its founder on NPR.

  24. That would probably explain it, Jaime. I just read the blurb, quoted above and that was quite off-putting without the vocals. 🙂

  25. Yeah, the caressing tones his voice gets when talking about his success is kind of grisly.

  26. I am obliged, Araminta 😀 I fear that the very fact of being a twit necessarily results in a deficiency of advocacy skills.

    By real time, I was referring to immediate events which news organisations report on afterwards.
    Jaime, I haven’t heard the founder of Twitter talk about it and I have no idea who he is. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s got a very different idea of how he feels it should be used. He is very rich, I should imagine.

    The element I omitted to mention, because it’s neither here nor there to me, is that Twitter is one vast marketing tool. If you *are* a celeb or an author or anyone with someone to sell, your market is there and you can promote your product and schmooze your faithful followers extremely successfully.

  27. I think Stanfordwhowhos in the comment above agrees with your last paragraph, Jan.

    Thank you Stanford for your comment. I think Tigger is the best too! Very bouncy.

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