[Air-L] Trivial tweeting
Scott Golder (AoIR)
aoir at redlog.net
Wed Jul 1 08:39:58 PDT 2009
Right, but the question is, who gets listened to when it comes to
norming, and who is listening? Suppose I make a normative statement
("Your apps really shouldn't be posting to Twitter") -- who listens to me?
You could frame it in terms of networks; the people who I share
reciprocal follower relations with (my strongest ties) are probably the
most likely to agree. And to the extent that we have common alters who
share that opinion, locally-dense parts of the network are likely to
coincide with different norms. Note the huge homophily/influence
problem here, as elsewhere.
But I also think that thinking of networks can be counterproductive when
what we want to think about is groups. Even though Twitter doesn't have
group boundaries built into the technology, I still think that groups
exist, and we'd do well to acknowledge that. The problem is that all
the groups are streamed together, and when groups have contradictory
norms about what is ok to post, participants are faced with an
impossible decision. This can be interesting analytically because as a
researcher you can observe how people prioritize their groups, but as
the participant, it can be a struggle.
The recent Facebook trend of taking surveys ("Which X are you") -- which
happily seems to have died down -- is another good example. Groups who
use Facebook for purely recreational reasons might be more comfortable
with this (taking surveys is a key part of what FB is _for_) and people
who use it as a less formal version of Linked In might be less
comfortable with it.
It's tempting to look at Twitter and see nodes! edges! It's a network!
But I like the idea of stepping back and seeing it as an overlapping of
groups that are still bounded, but by glass walls.
PS. My first post didn't make it (sent from scott at redlog instead of
aoir at redlog) Here it is:
I would add #4, play. Recently, I have personally enjoyed
#robotpickuplines, for example. It's frivolous and fun, but
frivolity and fun are
important parts of life too, right?
Rather than worrying about people who tweet mundane
things, the more pernicious
threat is applications that use Twitter for broadcasting users'
in-app status updates, such
as their current level in the spy game. I have complained this
in the past, and I only
see it getting worse as more and more apps (especially mobile
ones) realize they can
free ride on Twitter as a channel for notifications.
This suggests to me that Twitter apps are going to
have to become more like email
clients. I want better filters for users, topics (#hashtags),
better threading, and archiving.
It would be interesting if, in addition to email, newsgroups
and RSS feeds, email clients
started making Twitter an option. Thunderbird's open source -
anyone want to collaborate
on building Twitter support into it?
PS. peanut butter sandwich, chocolate milk and a
More information about the Air-L