A couple hundred years, news was spread via town crier and print, then some decades later the telegraph allowed codes to be sent across a pretty good distance. Then with the invention of the magnetic/electric telephone and it’s advent around the turn of the 20th century, we could share information across the country without someone to translate Morse Code. We could actually hear the voice of someone speaking in a different location. Then we had the radio and TV which could relay information quickly into our homes on a wide scale, but there was still a delay in the relay of big events across the globe. As technology grew and so did population, the world got smaller with sattelite communications. We could find out instantly what happened on the other side of the world, as long as the people on the other side of the world would tell us. The internet happened and everything changed. We could share via email or instant messages our information directly from one person to another with no middle man, nobody controlling the flow of info.
As I sit here on the edge of Biscayne Bay and the FL Everglades typing some random thoughts about communications on my Blackberry with no cables, no phone lines, no wireless router, no typewriter or telephone, I am overwhelmed with my thoughts. I can’t even put into words how amazing the era in which we live is to me. I am a nobody in the grand scheme, yet I have the ability to share with the whole world what I am thinking at any given time and nobody is trying to stop me! Isn’t that crazy? I wonder what somebody like Martin Luther or Ben Franklin would have been able to do with this technology.
What can Twitter do that sms text, blogging, myspace, instant messaging, or emails cannot?
- sms texts require a cell phone and text plan ($$) and are sent to one person at a time. Twitter can go with you anywhere you can get an internet connection (which is virtually everywhere now, and will be literally everywhere tomorrow) and is free
- blogging requires someone to log onto your blog or their reader service. Twitter can be set to notify you that someone has updated via sms text or instant message. Also twitter is 140 characters or less. Brief/concise messages whenever needed.
- myspace is like an all-in-one service. Again someone has to log onto my page specifically to see what is new. Anyone that follows me on Twitter would see my update immediately when I send it and can respon for everyone to see or respond directly to me.
- instant messaging is one-on-one only and requires someone to be logged on to their messaging client to receive and send. With Twitter, I tell what I am doing right now, or get my update on the information I want out to my readers and followers via sms text on cell phone, web page, or twitter client, and depending on the followers’ settings they will get the update when they open the website, their twitter client, or their cell phone will receive a text message.
- emails go to the users I select. I may forget to add an email address if I am sending an update to a newsgroup. A tweet goes to everyone who is following me.
Twitter is most like an open newsgroup/bulletin board/alert service. You could call it micro-blogging. Companies, people, promoters, organizations can send out an update to thousands of clients/people/followers/friends to keep them in the know about whatever they want to get out. It isn’t going away anytime soon. I could see twitter being utilized in politics, too. By the way, I have not even learned much about twitter. There is actually third party twitter software that allow you to do more than the twitter site alone allows you to do. I haven’t got into all that yet.