Friday, October 3, 2008

Microblogging can be used for more than just recapping your actions

For the longest time I wanted to know what was the big deal with microblogging sites like twitter. Do your friends and colleagues really want to know what you are doing at every moment of your life. Since I like to think of myself as a Web 2.0 enthusiast I decided to give it a try. Soon after I created an account I got bored with it. Even though I was able to update my account from my phone it was still a very tedious experience from me. Plus I really didn't see the benefit of being on twitter, because everyone was doing the same thing. Sure it gave me a bit more insight into the lives of my friends, and it allowed me to pimp my blog. It was still too overwhelming at times. It was almost like watching 100 different reality shows at once.

Well recently my opinion of twitter has changed. I realized that I was seeing the concept of microblogging from the wrong angle. Twitter allows people to give commentary in a way that they could have never before. I am noticing that people are starting to use hashtags as a way to group a collection of related topics so they form one mass conversation. Last week at OMS was my first time getting involved with using hashtags. I wanted to try it out for 2 reasons: 1. To see what the big deal with hashtags was about. 2. To see if using twitter was a good way to take notes. I was really impressed to find out that twitter makes an excellent note taking tool. Now if I want to review them all I have to do is search on the OMS hashtag #OMSSD08 and I get a transcript of whole day. It includes my notes along with everyone else who participated. This also gives me info on sessions that I didn't get to sit in on. Using hashtags is also a benefit to the organizers of the event, because they get instant feedback on how the conference is going.

I also feel that Twitter is making watching TV an interactive experience. Twitter allows everyone to become participants of the event, and give their commentary on the program. I used twitter as a tool while I watched the last 2 presidential debates. It made something that would be normally "dullsville" a rather enjoyable experience. Along with giving my own feed back I got to hear in real time what other people thought of the debate. If you are interested do a search on #tweetdebate or #vpdebate to view the commentary. Social Media Analyst Jeremiah Owyang also did a recap on the #tweetdebate experiment if you care to take a look.

The online news site, Current is taking this phenomenon to a new level by allowing people to "Hack the Debate." If you post tweets with the #current hashtag they will overlay it on their broadcast of the debate in real time. I'm curious to see how this concept will evolve over the next couple of months, or even the next year. If you have any ideas leave a comment and let me know.