Today is Twitter's tenth birthday, and we have a festooned heart and the hashtag #LoveTwitter to celebrate it.
Twitter is well worth celebrating - I joined up in the middle of the night some months after the launch:
and quickly discovered the joy of twitter's asynchronous chatter on a trip home to London. If you compare my blog archive and my tweet archive, Ev's early insight was spot on:
sneezing and heading for bed— Kevin Marks (@kevinmarks) December 11, 2006
By 2008 I noted this myself:
Thinking I should blog more. (Is twttr taking my blog juice and dispersing it in little bits before a post builds up?)— Ev Williams (@ev) July 18, 2006
I've been twittering more than blogging recently, and while immediacy is part of it, a far stronger thing is that I have a sense of public there - a public of people I choose to follow and who chose to follow me.In 2009 I wrote about Twitter Theory and Twitter's phatic core:
The key to Twitter is that it is phatic - full of social gestures that are like apes grooming each other. Both Google and Twitter have little boxes for you to type into, but on Google you're looking for information, and expecting a machine response, whereas on Twitter you're declaring an emotion and expecting a human response.In 2011 I was concerned about the proliferation of images used to extend tweets and asked for a way to put richer HTML with tweets
Image links, however — at least those from recognised partners — are given privileged treatment. Facebook and Google have emulated this too, leading to the 'trite quote as image' trope. The spillover of this to news organisations became complete this year, with blogs and newspapers falling over themselves to link to often-tendentious information presented in all-caps and crude histogram form.
I took up live-tweeting events,
and in 2013 I made Noter Live to make it easier.
i think @kevinmarks is the best conference blogger in the world, except he tweets & packs more details than many blog posts.— Om Malik (@om) September 10, 2012
in 2014 as twitter grew and changed the balance between following and replies, I warned about the changing tone of twitter:
The problem is that by making @ replies the most visible part of the app, they'd brought us back to email and blog comments again.I wrote about this again recently:
Your tweet could win the fame lottery, and everyone on the Internet who thinks you are wrong could tell you about it. Or one of the "verified" could call you out to be the tribute for your community and fight in their Hunger Games.
the Tragedy of the Comments occurred, just as it has done from the dawn of time. The power to force people to see your reactions to their comments is very hard to resist, and it changes the tone of the discourse.
Twitter is still a wonderful place to connect people across the world, and to weave the web of knowledge, jokes, phatic connections and news.
I think by applying the theory I've talked about over the years, it can be made better still. Here's to the next decade, being part of Twitter's overlapping publics sharing mutual media.