Tagging My Unconscious with Twitter

@xolotl Tweetcloud 2008After my first 1,000 tweets on twitter, I’ve generated this tweetcloud:

Which demonstrates my tweeted theory: tweetclouds are like a tagcloud of one’s unconscious the tags you would really make if you didn’t think about it too hard. Corollaries are that tagclouds represent your conscious, and unsent emails, your id.

Clearly my unconscious has been dominated recently by the revolutionary debate between the valiant Portvangelistas and their nefarious nemeses, Portvangelists like @kveton, @chrisorourke and @metafluence. I have a dream that one day we will all be marshaled to a common purpose, and my unconscious and tweetcloud will move on to brighter, shinier subjects ;)

On the other hand, after my first 1,000 tweets, I can clearly see the value in twitter:

  • Building community: Twitter has let me connect quickly and deeply with both a local community and distributed communities with shared interests.
  • Professional development: While at times it can be distracting, I’ve learned more via twitter in the last month than in any technology learning experience I’ve ever had.
  • Intelligence gathering: Who needs feeds and the NYT when you follow 100 of the right tweeple?
  • Human resources: A fellow twitterer responded to my call for a technical position within 3 minutes of my tweet.
  • Public relations: If you do it right, twitter can help you create “word on the tweet” for your project or company. Oregon twitters, keep an eye out for Sasquatch ;)
  • Customer relations: I see projects like Flock using twitter effectively to gather feedback and provide support.
  • Creative energy: I’ve seen more ideas get hatched, and in many cases, realized, on twitter than anywhere but the best gatherings I’ve attended. It’s like a neverending barcamp with no space limitations.

Twitter may not fulfill these purposes for ever, but there is clearly a niche between asynchronous semi-permanence of email and the gated community of instant messaging. IRC has filled this niche for the geekly, now twitter brings it to the masses.

  • http://xolotl.org/ Nate

    I guess I’ll keep posting comments to my own blog, at least when they pertain.

    Sarah Perez posted a great piece on Twitter use in customer service. See especially the part at the bottom on using Yahoo! Pipes to track tweets of interest to your company:
    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_get_customer_service_via_twitter.php

  • http://xolotl.org/ Nate

    For more metaphors and value of twitter, plus a very interesting comment trail, see @SamLawrence’s post on Twitter: A two-way social computer?