Friday, May 4, 2007

Twitter: Time to Grow Up

First.. a big thank you to k1v1n.. our dialogs over the past few weeks have helped me gain back some of my passion for emerging technologies.. and begin exploring applications that might be meaningful to organizations. I should also preface this post by quoting another good friend.. She tells me all the time "I really don't care about technology that doesn't solve some problem I am facing." She likes to point out I play with technology.. well.. just because it is technology. And she may be right.. I can toy technology for hours with no real goal in mind.

Today I am feeling a need to be more purposeful and primarily with Twitter. I like twitter and have used it now for several weeks. Personally, I have enjoyed keeping up with friends and family... but underneath of it all.. I have felt, well.. there has to be more to this than knowing what my buddies had for dinner. Personally, I intuitively know thatTwitter has a huge potential, but it is not really making a difference in personal performance right now and well that bugs me. So, I began thinking.. how can we help twitter grow up.

First, I should tell you I use twitter mainly to keep track of 3-5 people who I already know pretty well. Most of the rest of my twitter friends are more like a reality tv show.. well sort of. Except, I feel like I am missing most of the best parts of the show. So, one purpose for Twitter is to strengthen existing relationships.. that's a good thing and maybe worth the effort.. but even I get lazy about posting and I play with technology for the sake of playing with technology. I don't see this catching on in the mainstream just for this purpose. Needless to say.. I don't think this will sustain Twitter.. There has to be a higher purpose.

I got excited two weeks ago with Twittervision. Cool, but I lost interest very quickly.. Honestly, I really care less about where someone lives.. and more about our common interests. If twitter vision could somehow map people with like problems, say learning needs.. that might be make twitter use explode. So, I asking David Troy to explore adding a tagging can map more useful knowledge.

Of course last week, kv1vn, was nice enough to set up some customer twitter groups. And.. I figured out what was bothering me.. Twitter has no context. If you could use it in conjunction with anything that gives it context.. and it has to be a useful context. Geography is nice, but what if I could twitter with people who are planning their spring gardens.. WOW.. watch out. It becomes more powerful. and much more useful.. So finding a useful context is key and the segmenting individuals who can not contribute in that context.

Let me give you an simple example of how I could really put twitter to use: Next month, I will attend ASTD's International Conference. At this conference will be 7000+ people attending hundreds of sessions. Some of them good, some of them not so good. I will be attending with about 20 people I know very well, but we have a way of getting lost from each other. The context.. huge conference.. need to communicate with many in a group learning experience.. but logistics are impossible.. It is also important to spread knowledge quickly.. issues like, which are the best speakers, where are we meeting for dinner, what do you think this speaker's main points.. Solution = TWITTER.

So.. this brings me to ambitious experiment.. I plan to try to create a twitter colony.. for just one week at ASTD. I plan to post this and begin letting people know. If possible, it would be best to have an easy way to segment our colony.. I need your help.. Hopefully I can find enough twitter friends to make this experiment work, but if you can spread the word that would be great. I need to add as many twitter ASTD friends as possible. Go to my twitter page to add me as your friend.

Another approach will be to get the ASTD bloggers to notice this experiment. The challenge will be connecting all the twitter friends. I plan on contact ASTD to see if they want to help, but if you know of a simple trick that will help me get everyone twittered up.. please share.. I look forward to your comments on how I might build this colony.. I need all your suggestions.

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