Twitter creeps in
I often notice little things about how I work that I think point out value. One sign that a piece of UI is right is when you start to look for it in apps that don’t have it. For example, after I had started using mouse gestures in Opera I’d find myself wanting to make mouse gestures in other applications. When mice first started to have a wheel, I was skeptical. Support of the mouse wheel was not universal across applications. When I found myself trying to scroll with the mouse wheel in applications that didn’t support it, I knew it was right.
Tonight I came home and went to my machine. The first thing I did was to check what was going on in Twitter. That’s pretty interesting, at least for someone like me. I’ve been sending email on pretty much a daily basis for 25 years. It’s pretty much always the first thing I look at when I come back to my machine. Occasionally these days I find myself first going into Google reader to see what’s new, but that’s pretty rare and I might be looking for something specific. Tonight, I think for the first time, Twitter was where I went to – and not just for the general news, but for communications between and about people I know or am interested in. Much more interesting than looking through my email.
I’m one of those that thought Twitter was pretty silly when I first signed up (Dec 2006). I only used it once, and also found it intolerably slow. But it’s grown on me. And I find definite value there.
A few examples:
- I’d mailed Dick Costolo a few times in the past. Then I saw him twittering that he was drinking cortados. So I figured he must be in Spain. I mailed him, and he was. As a result I ended up at the FOWA conference in London the next day and met a bunch of people.
- On Tuesday I went out and bought a Wii in Manhattan to take back to my kids in Spain. I twittered about heading out to do it. I got an email a bit later from @esteve telling me to take the Wii back as they are region-locked. So I did.
- A week or so ago I was reading some tweets and noticed that someone had just been out to dinner in Manhattan with someone else that I wanted to meet. So I sent a mail to the first person and was soon swapping mails with the second.
- I’ve noticed about 5 times that interesting people were going to be in Barcelona and so I’ve mailed them out of the blue. That’s really good – people on holiday are often happy to have a beer and a chat. I’d have had no idea they were going to literally be outside my door were it not for Twitter.