I’ve found myself using Twitter more and more recently. In large part it comes on the expense of blogging here – the mental entry barrier is so much different from taking proper time out of a busy day to write a polished blog entry versus shooting away compressed 140 character thought-bits from my mobile in the middle of a meeting or in transit when travelling.
I’ve experimented quite a bit with what I tweet about. At some point I jotted down a few blogging principles (in Estonian here) and Twitter was initially a channel for the leftovers that didn’t fit in, e.g. short messages about me, my location, my random inner thoughts – rather than something specifically designed for the reader. As my followers count has grown (getting very close to the number of RSS subscribers on this blog – interesting tipping point soon; now ranking in the top 2 of #Estonian users – hi, Cyrus), I’ve knowingly pulled back from more egocentric and personal stuff and craft my short messages for a broader, more anonymous audience. To a notable extent I’m also taking feedback from those near and dear to me about which content they feel could be uncomfortable or too revealing.
Either way, Twitter is a concept-stretching medium and part of the beauty of it is that though we more or less know what is the “old” stuff that it is changing we can have no clue yet to what, in which direction. Even better, it is still up to us as the users to define it – both when consuming microcontent (whom we follow, how we filter, what we re-share) and when creating it (just linking or creating new? talking about yourself or the readers? social realism or philosophical abstractionism?).
Anyway, what sparked this post was actually a funny incident today. Apple App Store opened up for Estonian users today. As we launched the Skype client for iPhone this week and it has skyrocketed to a million downloads in less than 48 hours, we are all of course very closely following this space right now. So, when I learned about Apple’s Estonian expansion this morning, I of course tweeted it (at 10:58) as something my followers could care about. At 11:46 Eesti Päevaleht, one of the largest Estonian dailies, ran a news story, quoting my tweet as the original source. They had a comment from EMT (the local iPhone-exclusive mobile operator), who apologized that they still haven’t heard about it from Apple and don’t know what to say.
From one side I even feel a bit sorry for my friends at EMT for stealing the thunder from their official press if and when they were planning to run it. On the other hand – it is a great example of casual, yet targeted real-time content bending the borders between “mainstream” and social media.