Twitter: a guide for busy paranoids

[This is a slightly edited version of the article written for “Stories: from The Local Government Web Network”, issue 3, August 2011, which was distributed at the LGWN’s conference in Sydney on 18 August. Some material in this article also appears in Tweeting your way out of Paranoia, the closing keynote presentation I delivered.]

If you’re not yet at least experimenting with Twitter, the real-time social messaging service, you should be.

Suppress the corporate paranoia. It’s a lot easier than you might think. And while Twitter does get far more attention than its relatively small size might suggest — truly active Twitter users number perhaps 20 million globally compared with Facebook’s 750 million active users and counting — it punches well above its weight in terms of connecting with influential community members.

Twitter may not ever become the core real-time service used by the masses. Or if it does, it may only be for a few years. You only have to look at the last decade to see the then-leading MySpace surpassed by Facebook in 2008, just four years after Facebook was founded. Google’s launch of Google+ in June this year has generated plenty of speculation that the search and advertising giant’s foray into social networking will in turn wipe Facebook off the planet. Who knows?

There will always be some real-time social messaging service, however. Whether that’s Twitter as a stand-alone service, or whether we all end up using a real-time component of Facebook or Google+ or something that has yet to be deployed — none of that matters. The principles and practices of real-time messaging will doubtless end up being much the same.

Anything you might do with Twitter will be easy to migrate to any other real-time messaging system. The lessons you learn will carry across too.

Continue reading “Twitter: a guide for busy paranoids”

Weekly Wrap 56

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. Last week was busy enough, but this week was even busier. Something’s gotta give.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 94, “ISP filtering goes ‘voluntary'”. Even though Australia’s controversial mandatory internet filtering program is at least two years away from being implemented, internet service providers will soon start filtering child exploitation material on a voluntary basis. My guests are Peter Black, who teaches internet and media law at the Queensland University of Technology; Network engineer Mark Newton; Lyle Shelton, chief of staff of the Australian Christian Lobby.

Articles

Media Appearances

Two radio spots this week, and a guest appearance on someone else’s podcast.

Corporate Largesse

None. I am reliably informed that the drought will be broken next week.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: A misty dawn at Bunjaree Cottages, 1 July 2011. This is the view from Roselle Cottage, not normally rented to the punters. The much-battered camera in my phone does not do this scene justice.]

Talking Myspace on ABC 774 Melbourne

In 2005 Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace, as the orthography went, for USD 580 million. Yesterday he sold the operation, now branded Myspace or even just My_____, depending where you look, for a mere USD 35 million. Not exactly a profit.

The buyer was Specific Media, an advertising targeting company. One of the investors is musician and actor Justin Timberlake, although the size of his stake has not been revealed.

There’s now plenty of speculation about whether Myspace will build on its recent music focus, and how it’ll shape up against the monster that is Facebook and the new contender, Google+.

Yesterday I chatted about all this stuff with Lindy Burns on ABC 774 Melbourne. This time she got my name right.

Play

The audio is ©2011 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but it hasn’t been posted on their website so here it is. In return, I reckon you might choose to listen to Lindy Burns’ drive program next week.