In olden times if you wanted to exchange snippets of information on-line you signed up for a bulletin board or forum or chatroom. This was a self selected group of people with a common interest. In the quaint way of old fashioned computing there was a complex hierarchy of topics and sub-topics and an administrator. Conversations ambled along at the speed of a dial up modem and people spent the night sleeping so conversations across timezones were even more leisurely. Joining the community required access to exotic equipment and technical knowledge so the major topic of discussion was computing or science fiction.
Inside all of this structure you would find short abbreviated comments from people with funny pseudonyms - yes it was just like twitter!
Calling twitter a chat room would immediately cause most users to abandon it. Twitter is way cooler than that, twitterers would cry.
Quite simply, twitter has abandoned structure. It is a free form playground of excitable toddlers all jammed on transmit.
The intriguing thing about it is that it has become subject to evoultionary pressure and primitive structures are beginning to appear.
All very philosophical but "What's in it for me? you chorus
My advice for those whose curiosity has been piqued by their broadsheet twittering on about twitter is
- Only sign up if you know someone already using it
- Use twitter advanced search to select an area of 10 miles from where you live. You can then quickly find out if there is anybody interesting out there
- Treat it like an item of fashion clothing - fun for the moment.
- Don't use it for important things, it can be unreliable
You will of course find the bof on twitter mixing it wiv his mates, wicked