I read a post today by Fred Wilson that his kids finally “got” twitter. He wrote:
We are headed to Honolulu today. I twittered that fact and within minutes Joshua was back to me (via text message) with a recommendation for a ramen place called tenkaippin. I didn’t ask for it, but he offered it and we are now headed there for lunch
Earlier this week Jessica had gotten a text from her friends who were in boston visiting colleges. They wanted a recommendation for a sushi place. Jess asked me and I twittered the question
We got back a half dozen messages, and quickly determined the best place which she texted back. Her friends were thrilled
They used to think twitter was a stalker service. They still do, but they also think its awesome (‘at least for you dad’)
i hear what his kids are saying. I’ve been using Twitter for about a month now and while i see some useful parts of it, the service has yet to deliver the goods to me. I don’t have enough people i know on it and i don’t get enough useful twitter posts. It seems to be simply a way for people to advertise for themselves. There’s no real communication. I also don’t know if i should be following more strangers or if that’s tacky. The strangers i do follow (because their are blogs i read) like Mashable and Calcanis simply repeat what’s on their blogs so it’s pointless. I wish they could take the time to add a little more personality to the medium.
I think it’s hard for kids – or anyone – to understand the utility of Twitter because for the new user it doesn’t offer any immediately positive feedback or benefit. When you first begin, you twitter something and nothing happens – you just sit there. Similar to a typical social network, it’s not until you have lots of friends using it or until lots of users are following you that it becomes useful and even then i’m not sure if it’s much different than a massive chatroom with a better interface
Twitter may hit the mainstream, but i’d be willing to guess that it’s only useful for the hardcore who are actively trying to make it useful. That’s not mainstream, that’s digging for gold. I personally want my web services to just hand me the gold.