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"The whole conversation part of Twitter is not perfect."

Stashed in: Conversations, @jack, Curation, @timberners_lee, @dickc, Starbucks

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"But at the same time that was never really considered the whole purpose of Twitter," says Florian Weber, Twitter's first engineer.

Source of the quote: The European Behind Twitter ...

Once making that move is a priority I can migrate us to HTMLPurifier.

That's a beautiful thing, Lucas.

Tim Berners-Lee said recently that on Twitter everything tended to be "extreme" and even cast doubt on the future of the site. He said that in years to come the web would need something "a bit more sophisticated".


Bill Keller in the New York Times recently observed that "In a Twitter discussion, opinions and our tolerance for others’ opinions are stunted."

For more, read The Twitter Trap:

My thought is that Twitter is actually the beginning of a potentially sophisticated conversation system that could be build on top of it. The challenge is that someone with vision needs to build it.

I wish I could agree; truthfully, I see twitter as the manifestation of the means people can use to interact in a hive-mind group texting system. I've had very, very few meaningful conversations through text on my cell-phone, and that's exactly what twitter's is; a public texting forum.

In catering to the lowest common denominator, there will be the benefit that 'anyone' can use it (as it really doesn't require much time, effort, or sincere reflection.) There is, of course, the downside; that 'anyone' means the bulk of time spent sifting through twitter is spent sifting through dozens of complaints, snark, deep philosophical musings on the nature of Starbucks, etc in search of the one or two messages that could trigger a thoughtful mental or emotional response.

Twitter is a BROADCAST platform, not a conversation platform:

My friend at Twitter always says that they consider themselves a media company, not a social network. I find it annoying how often I hear people say "I hate Twitter, it's just people talking about themselves." I find some of the most interesting information of my day through people I follow on Twitter, but it's pretty rare that I make a friend. I guess there are 2 ways to be on Twitter: 1) you can be personal - this is interesting to your friends even if it's boring, ie - I actually care about what my roommates ate for lunch because we're eating dinner together tonight. and 2) you can be the bearer of interesting/funny/cool information. This category is where Twitter shines.

Good points. Also, Twitter shines in part because we don't have to come up with our own tweets. It's perfectly legitimate behavior to simply retweet other tweets I find interesting. I can "create" content by curating content from other sources, and people will follow me if I am a good curator.

I've always seen Twitter as more of broadcast platform, personally. While conversations were always technically possible, they never felt natural to me me because I always have to 2nd guess, "is this something I want to (metaphorically) shout from the rooftop in the town square?" Also the 140 character limit is an issue as well. I use it almost exclusively as a content/link distribution system.

Which is how most whales use it: broadcast to my followers.

And to your point: Twitter links result in "amazing traffic" ...

This is in part due to a second population of Twitter users -- call them the Greek Chorus or curators or social media mavens -- who spend their time (and tweets) amplifying signal by retweeting and/or at-replying good content.

The word of mouthers are what transform Twitter from just mini-blogs to something more interesting.

I've really enjoyed Clay Shirky's thoughts on the coming importance of curation. His great quote being: "It's not information overload, it's filter failure." The point he's making is that there has always been tons of info. However, we also had filters in place so we weren't flooded. Now we're flooded by data from everywhere. What we need is new filters we trust, and so good, reliable curators are essential. The key word there is trust and I think that's the part many fail at. It's not always an easy line to walk, especially given how new the culture (and tech) of social media is and how much it shifts beneath our feet on a near-daily basis. Seth Godin does a good job of addressing the trust issue.

It's not information overload; it's filter failure.

I love that.

How to have a great conversation:

That's a cool demo but unfortunately no community evolved from it.

Without community, there can be no conversation.

Right, this is the critical point.

The tools for having conversation on twitter are not good, though I think it has gotten better. @messaging and other things were created by the users and then adopted/standardized/supported by the platform, not the other way around. It's a lot easier to see replies between people now, etc.

BUT the most important part of conversations is people. Because people have an audience on Twitter, and that audience has a box to type in, conversation happens.

It's like saying a blog commenting system is a bad way to have conversations (I think most are) - the audience for that blog is *there* so it gets used.

That's a really good point, Adam. People bend over backwards to have conversations through comments on Quora even though the system isn't really designed for it.

Wherever there are people, there will be conversations.

The best system I know of that was designed specifically for conversations is Metafilter.

There again, the conversation is great because the community is great, and the software supports that greatness.

"Even Dick Costolo, the chief executive of Twitter, has admitted he doesn’t know exactly what Twitter is for."


Hashtags give Twitter a bonus boost. #NotJustForTwitterAnymore


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