Web 2.0: Leisa Reichelt

Twitter’s not a waste of time (in defence of status updates)
Twitter is a tiny thing compared to some of the things we’ve seen before. But people get very passionate about it.

Updates status in two places – Twitter and Facebook. Done separately, not automatically, because they have two different audiences.

As explaining what she does, there are two responses: “Yeah, this make sense”, or “Is she mad?”. Some people think that status updating is really egocentric. Why do people update about what they are eating? Why bother?

Two or three categories of people who don’t get it:

– People who haven’t properly been exposed to it. Leisa didn’t like Twitter when she first saw it, but two or three months later she tried again, and suddenly started to understand, it made sense. if you only got to that first part of the journey, looked but didn’t engage, that might be why you don’t get it.

– A bunch of people who have engaged, have found people, have experimented, and still don’t like it. That’s fine. Two characteristics of people for whom this doesn’t work. Some people for whom being in a room is very important, much more than any other way of communicating. Or people who are upset by context shifting, they don’t like being interrupted and find that very disruptive and takes a lot of time to get back into what you were doing before. These technologies are distracting. As Euan says, all these tools are like an orchestra you are conducting.

Lots of people are doing this. Are we all egotistical showponies?

What Twitter is:
– tech support: you have never had better tech support than following the right people on Twitter
– product research: always check big new purchases with people on Twitter. Was looking for an external hard drive, got lots of recommendations. They say stuff you’d never find out otherwise. Check travel info.
– news: twitter echoes stuff, looks at stuff that comes up lots and lots
– conferences: people Twitter conferences that they are at, and that can be really interesting. can virtually participate in conferences that you can’t physically get to.

Mixture of stuff that she tweets about: dialling into conferences, visits from hedgehogs in her garden, sharing professional stuff, e.g. she’s doing an open design process for Drupal and so is talking about that.

Don’t have to watch Twitter all day. You can get it through IM, but also many clients. Uses Twitterific. Sometimes actually switches Twitter off.

Invest time to Twitter, and it gives back. Has saved hours of work. Also saved her from going to the wrong airport because of a Tweet from a friend.

It’s about being able to get in touch with people that you otherwise would have no access to. These tools tell us something very little bits about people that help us get to know them. Helps us see people not as a caricature but as a real person.

What we’re doing is transplanting a natural face-to-face behaviour, phatic expressiveness. Asking why people update their status is like asking “why do you smile at someone?” or “why do you ask how I am?”. It’s just social communication, there’s no meaning or information. It’s like that conversation when you meet someone and you want to ask them a favour, but you have to do a social dance first. You have to pay your dues socially, then you can ask what you want.

Ambient intimacy is like a perpetual handshake. We maintain this state of being able to ask for things right now. And people feel happy to take time to answer. And can do this to a whole range of people around the world at the same time. The effect if ridiculously rapid access to important information right when you need it.

Really busy at the moment, and the idea of not having a Mac for 2 days, it can’t happen. Couple of weeks ago, Mac’s logic board died. Genius Bar says they can give her a new Mac but need 24 hours to transfer data. So had to go home with new MacBook and dead MacBook and had to get data off one onto another. Asked Twitter, and someone from the US spent a lot of time talking her through how to do it. Why? What was in it for him?

Robert Wright, Non-Zero. Some games there’s a winner and a loser, some games everyone can win from just being in it. That’s Twitter. Everyone puts in to and everyone gains. Jeff helps with the Mac because someone helped him once, and Leisa helps someone else because Jeff helped her.

If you go away from Twitter you have to do some ‘gardening’, you have to give back what you want to take out. It’s not egotistical at all, apart from very minority of people. Most of us have carefully built up networks we are interest in. very diverse groups of people who get great value out of their networks.

Open or closed? Bored of things that have to happen behind firewall. But what’s important is that if you close a network, you lose diversity, and lose value.

Yammer – newish site, internal business version of Twitter. Seems like a useful tool. If you have a company email account, you can sign up with people of the same email type.

Drupal project. Using Twitter search to get a sense for what’s happening with the Drupal brand. Also use it to recruit people – anyone who mentions Drupal gets followed by the DrupalTwitter account.

Twitter not just for people, it’s also about machines – there’s the LovellTelescope. That has a star and a black hole as a friend.

“It’s not about being poked and prodded, it’s about exposing more surface area for others connect with” – Johnnie Moore.

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