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Business - Written by on Monday, September 1, 2008 13:01 - 4 Comments

Jeff DeChambeau
@twitter: Wait, you’re IRC?

As those who know me know, I have some strong feelings about twitter (as strong as a feeling about a webapp can be): namely that it’s just a forum for personal vanity, and that in people’s day to day lives, there’s not really a need to post an update every two minutes answering the question “what are you doing?”

But, I’ve always been willing to concede that twitter may well have it’s use in the business world, and we’ve had some great discussions with a company called CoreMedia, who uses a homebrew version of twitter internally to great effect. I only know in general terms how it works, but it seems to go like this: everyone at work networks up with one another, and they’re able to ask questions to one another with an @coworker message. Individuals can also just put up generic notes about what they are doing, or ask questions without any specific recipient.

When you add more and more people into the mix, the community stream starts looking like this:

Steve is looking to see a movie, any suggestions?
Bill @Steve: Hey have you seen tropic thunder?
Steve @Bill: No, Is it good?
Justine @Steve: Sorry to cut in, but it’s great, go see it!
Bill @Steve: She’s right.

Now, to anyone from the old school internet, that should look pretty familiar to you: it’s basically an IRC channel, or by the name most people would know it, a chatroom.

I recognize that this is only one aspect of how twitter is used, but it still strikes me that a new technology has come onto the scene, and has shown itself to have emergent properties that mirror, almost exactly, one of the first communication technologies of the Internet.

This twitter approach is clearly superior, as because of the api, you can participate in the discussion from anywhere, and there’s no clumsy software to deal with (be it web-based or not), so it’s very easily accessible to everyone.

While I still don’t like twitter for personal updates, you have to opt-in to to seeing them, so I can’t really complain with any legitimacy. But for the business world, it’s somehow nice to see IRC crop up in its own disembodied way to unite people once again.


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Sep 1, 2008 17:16

I feel like I may be repeating myself here, or may be it was somewhere else, but the IRC comparison, particularly as a corporate application, seems very apropos. To make it work you need people who are well liked within any hierarchy, who can keep conversations going, and you need managers who will tolerate a bit of inane messing around because that adds liquidity to the exchanges. Not everyone does the inane stuff equally well though.

Sep 3, 2008 22:11

Considering that you have a twitter account…

Jeff DeChambeau
Sep 3, 2008 22:14

Hey now… It’s locked off!

Sep 8, 2008 13:36

As a young’un to the professional world, I’d like to add my Web 2(.0) cents: Tweets are even more like an AIM away message or Facebook status update, especially if it’s not @-ing. Some of the Twitter-ers I follow I really use them more like an RSS feed, too.

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