Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why microblog?

microblogging I'm sometimes a bit slow on the uptake, so the first time I tried blogging (because I felt I "should"), it didn't work. Like the majority of first time bloggers, I dutifully blogged for a few months, and then stopped, because I had no reason so continue.
When I returned to blogging two years later, it was because I had a purpose. Second time around and armed with a purpose, blogging not only worked out for me, it tried to take over my life! Like all converts, I need to testify about my new beliefs (Why Blog?).
This morning, my feed reader is jammed with posts about Google's acquisition of Jaiku, a microblogging competitor to Twitter. Part of the interest is commercial, coming so soon after Google bought (and apparently mothballed) Dodgeball, another mobile microblogging service, and in speculation about the "Facebook killer" Google is supposed to announce on November 5th. So there's still money sloshing around the web 2.0 bubble. But my question about microblogging goes deeper than financial speculation.

Why would I want to microblog?

I've never felt the urge to document the minutiae of my life on Twitter. I am sometimes amused, sometimes irritated by the microblog Twitter/Facebook status RSS feeds of a few acquaintances which I subscribe to. But I went through my Facebook phase and I'm over it now. Facebook is, like, so last month, yah?
I am aware of the potential power of microblogging. The intermittent variable reward provided by "friends" status updates is the reason that Facebook is sticky. But that doesn't want to make me do it. So I ask you,

why would I want to microblog?

23.10.07: Interestingly, no-one answered my question. Is that because everyone thinks microblogging is a waste of time, or because all the true believers are too busy tweeting to get anything else done? There's an interesting post titled Why Twitter Isn’t a Waste of Time on Problogger which says:
The value is in your own micro-community of followers and who you choose to follow.
You don’t want the wisdom of any crowd; you want the wisdom of a carefully-selected crowd.
It's right about the first part, but wrong about the second part. The community element is important, but selecting a small crowd of like minded people is against the crowdsourcing principles explored by James Surowiecki in The Wisdom of Crowds, and is ultimately self-defeating because of inward-looking stagnation.

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