Saturday, July 05, 2008

Twitter - should I stay or should I go?

I'm finding myself starting to really like Twitter. My original use of it was somewhat minimal, kind of like my approach to blogging (although I'm handicapped a bit by blogging twice -- here and at work -- so some of the time and ideas I have are being used in a closed system). I posted a few tweets (twitts? I prefer tweets, I think), subscribed to a couple of interesting people, but was treating it more like a mini-RSS feed than a communication mechanism. Over the last week or two, though, I've used it for direct and indirect communication, including a really entertaining instance of connecting to someone (Chris Thiessen, creator of, which is fascinating) through Twitter before I had the chance to connect via email.

At the same time, I'm starting to understand the frustration felt by Twitter users at the downtime for the service. Direct messages have taken up to 10 hours to get through, and some of the website's functions have failed to work or generated baffling error messages. Reading about Twitter on techcrunch, I'm concerned about the long-term viability of the service.

So I find myself at a bit of a crossroads. Do I keep investing time and energy in building my social graph on Twitter, hoping it will become stable and usable, or do I seek out alternatives?

I'm reminded of the adoption of instant messaging in the mid-90s. I started with AIM and built a modest network of friends, then somehow lost my account in the Netscape/AOL transition. I built another network on Yahoo Messenger, another on Microsoft Messenger, tried Trillian to hook them up, but found it didn't work on my work computer. Now Google and Facebook and everyone else wants to provide instant messaging infrastructure.

I'm tired of setting up new accounts and rebuilding my social graph. I want a way to hook up all of the ones I already have, and to be honest, I'm willing to pay for that.

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