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January 30, 2009

Twitter begins to shriek in the UK. But why?

GLOBAL – I’m sure many of you will know what Twitter is, so I’ll keep my summary for those that don’t to less than 140 characters: “Twitter is a micro-blogging social network, where you write updates limited to 140 characters, and follow anyone’s ‘tweets’ via mobile or PC”. Wow, that’s 140 characters on the nose! Anyway, I’ve been aware of Twitter since back in early 2007, when I first tweeted to the world, but admittedly I’ve not been a hardcore committed Twitterer, although more recently I’m beginning to get into the rhythm of it. However, in less than a month there seems to have been an explosion in Twitter activity in the UK. Sure it was popular before, but this swell in interest and people using it seems (at least where I’m tweeting from) as somewhat of a UK second wind.

This sparked a few questions, so are you sitting comfortably? Good, then let’s begin…

Now I don’t have the answer to these, so I’m just throwing them out there to see what you think and to hear your opinions.

Can great technologies and services lie dormant for years before their true potential is realized and becomes collectively adopted? Aside from this Twitter resurgence, a trend I’ve noticed of late is that there has been a lot more focus ‘old’ technologies such as SMS and intelligently exploiting them in favour of developing new ones (just think Nokia Life Tools, mPedigree and FrontlineSMS) – a sort of ‘sustainable innovation’ movement. I guess, I’m asking are all the tools we need for an ever-evolving mobile existence already here, and is it ‘simply’ a case of how innovators now piece them together?

I see Twitter spreading its cute little wings in the UK, but what about where you live – we are so pleased that we have such a widespread and balanced global readership visiting us here on Conversations, from India to Italy and Brazil to Bulgaria, and we’re aware that you often have insights we simply can’t match. Has Twitter yet poked its beak into your mobile life? Do you use it, and if not, is this something you’d be interested in?

Actually, I’ve just remembered something my co-writer James said about why he has adopted Twitter as one of his main mobile social networking tools – he was a big Facebook user (Facebook was last year’s, and remains somewhat this year’s, online darling/demon in the UK), but found that he was only really using it for status updates. Something Twitter does better, many would say. Perhaps this is the key – people learn to use and adopt a new method of mobile behavior and then drop that tool in favour of a sharper one? What do you think?

Also, I’ve now remembered our editor Charlie wrote a great piece on SMS and Twitter back in June of last year – it’s definitely worth a read. Plus, you can follow Nokia Conversations on Twitter.

That’s more than enough questions, especially on a Friday. But please scribble down your thoughts below, as it’d be great to get your opinions.