Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Some amusing ideas around Twitter

Part of the fun of Twitter is in making up stupid words with tw*tt- as the prefix. Make up the ludicrous dot-com word and the idea will follow. I am very fond of words that have sprung into being like "multiblogular," "polyblogular," "hyperblogulating", "twitterlibrium", "computerbating" or "wikibating" and now "twitterbating". The -bating suffix is particularly interesting because it carries all sorts of associations of feelings and irony around the activity. Perhaps a slight tinge of guilt and discomfort or uncertainty towards the degree to which one is engaging with people (or no people) online rather than "real life" (which of course we must put irony quotes around because talking to people over the net is real life just as much as talking face to face.)

While I was driving to San Jose the other morning I was considering twitterzines - what would they be? I think a way of creating sophisticated "favorites" lists or sets. Twittidors would drag and drop other people's tweets onto interestingly-themed twitterzines; they might turn out like poems or tiny magazines or scrapbooks made of snippets of other people's lives. Being able to look at or collect tweets based on keyword would be nice, but then adding in a human editorial function would be nifty. One's amazing words of wisdom about chicken tacos or the future or toenail-painting at sunset could then be collected by others... and perhaps you get props of some kind for the mention or for being anthologized (twitthologized? ugh!)

The timeline concept could be pushed way further & with tons of possibly pointless data so that you could look at your own or other people's distributions of twittering - Does one tend to tweet at particular times, like during commute... at dinner... Or what? And with particular keywords associated? Just as various events have been highlighted on Twitter (Macworld, etc - and imagine the mass twitterbating that's about to happen at SXSWi; it'll be nuts) We could mark up or tag important moments. Like being able to collect what people were tweeting during the Superbowl. I don't give a fuck about the Superbowl and in fact don't know who played or won, but maybe other events would give nifty information to... someone. My mind hovers between thinking of historians and advertisers... but probably it would be the dilettantes who look.

Dragging & dropping would be a nice concept. Rather than batch editing (Okay I'm assuming anyone ever bothers... But they might... ) you could drag and drop your (or someone else's) twitters onto a tag or into a collection (the twitterzine - which again would be a bit like a Flickr set.)

A probably easy & fun Twitter extension: A mood index or indicator that depended on various factors. On contemplating my own collection of tweets I am heavy on the "fabulous" "Yummy" "yay" and the gazillion exclamation points. Clearly my mood index would tend towards the "Give this woman Ritalin, stat" end of things. The mood index could be as simple as good mood / bad mood but I suspect that more complex would be more fun. The lists of keywords indicating mood, or the connections between word and mood could be built collaboratively, and I think keywords would be a fine way to do it (Unless there is someone out there typing "Yay, I'm fabulously pissed off and want to kill myself, omgponies!!!") This could be pushed even further into, what's that test that people get so obsessed with? The one where I'm like ENTJ or something? That thing. You could associate keywords or patterns or data with various of the qualities and then predict.

One could look at patterns of whether groups of friends or followers tend to twitter in clumps. For example, if after Tara Hunt twitters about her day, half her friends obliquely respond by twittering about their day, that could turn out to be interesting information. An algorithm like... the # of followers you have, in relation to how many of them tend to twitter within a certain time period after you twitter. That might be pointless because it would lead to a level of self-consciousness and avoidance of posting immediately in response to someone or else - the other direction - gaming it deliberately. On the other hand that might be amusing as well.

Twitter is lovely for flirting and webstalking - you can see what your crush is up to or obliquely let them know as well without directly communicating or possibly intruding on their day with an IM or email. So what many dating sites haven't achieved, Twitter does perfectly without intending it. Flirting is all about plausible deniability and Twitter offers that very nicely. I'd like to hear some cool twitter-flirting true confessions from people...

Anyway, I picture this sort of stuff being built on top of Twitter, much like the nifty and addictive little apps people build for LiveJournal. Like LiveJournal, Twitter is *fun*... And people want to play with it and poke and and mess around, which could turn out to be productive in unpredictable ways.

I shouldn't say this, but given the level of eye-rolling some people exhibit over "those people obsessed with Twitter" with the implications of pointless narcissim & wankeriness... I'm surprised no one has made the obvious tasteless parody: Twatter.






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3 comments:

Silver said...

this post made me laugh so hard, i hyperblogulated... :D seriously. you're brilliant.

thatedeguy said...

I happened upon this post while looking for something that I could comment on for the contest. I'm glad I did. I just recently began twittering and don't really feel that I have even begun to scratch the surface of what capabilities that the tool could be used towards. I think the beauty of the tool is that it is simple. Through the gadgets and gizmos that people will build around it, we are sure to get some rather extraordinarily useful tools for communications.

Of course, while reading this post, I immediately thought that a Twittiki (twitter wiki) would be interesting. Each user as a page perhaps? Or each topic? Event? A page for the Superbowl (borrowing your example) wherein the obvious subjects like the commmercials would be topmost, but also where the less obvious topics (I'm thinking traffic downtown, big sale at macy's, etc.) would be listed as some sort of eventological list.

Can't wait to see what they do with twatter... ;)

So, a couple of sentences. I'd like to keep a laptop for myself, but one of the computers and the printer would go to the humane society and at least one of the other computers would go to my church. And I think I would try and giveaway another on my blog.

thatedeguy said...

I suppose you asked for a link to my blog, and I added it with my name, but in any case, it is http://www.thatedeguy.com