I recognize that it's becoming fashionable among many to bash Twitter
, but for those who have learned how to use Twitter well (as opposed to many who use it poorly), the value of it is quite impressive. I now spend a lot more time using Twitter to find news than I do my feed reader -- and that's amazing to me. However, I think Mark Cuban actually has made the strongest point, noting that in many ways, Twitter is becoming more useful than Google
. This isn't to say that Twitter is "killing" Google (x killing y stories are lame), but that many people are finding information via Twitter now, where they used to find it via Google.
Cuban gives an example of trying to buy a car, where there may be a lot of value in being able to message a guru on the type of car he wants to buy via Twitter (or, better yet, finding a few of them). I know I've found Twitter to be useful in this manner. A few months ago, I was looking for a new backpack for my computer -- and I had very specific requirements (such as the ability to carry both a laptop and a netbook at times comfortably). It was quite difficult to come up with a Google query that made sense for such a thing, but I could ask it easily in 140 characters and plenty of people could easily understand it, and then provide thoughts and recommendations. It comes back to two points:
- Having real humans respond to a query works well for more specific queries that simply aren't well automated.
- Perhaps much more importantly, real people can better offer recommendations or explanations than an automated query on Google, which simply seeks to find data or answers.
Basically, what Twitter is enabling is an entirely different form of information gathering online: via conversation, rather than via data dump. Each has it's place, but the reason many of us find Twitter so compelling is that it's opening up tremendous new possibilities to enable useful information flow that simply wasn't possible before.