Twitter: brain trickery

Kathy Sierra, of the Creating Passionate Users blog, has written about the social networking tool Twitter. In case you’ve not heard of it, Twitter allows you to add updates to things you’re doing right now from email, their website or instant messenger. So if you want to tell people you’re currently having a bowl of soup, or that you’re thinking about Brazil, you can. In fact, that’s the whole point.

Like Kathy I’m not convinced of the usefulness of this service, although I suppose a hundred trillion squillion users can’t be wrong. The hypothesis that Twitter works for many people because it tricks the brain into thinking that there’s some genuine interaction going on is, for me, a potent one. I can’t think of anyone’s mundanities of life I’d like to keep my eye on, and I’m sure no-one is interested in what I’m doing right now. But then again, I write this blog.

Using technology to replace real, human contact is a long way from becoming a viable option. It would take a massive leap forward to be able to get the same kind of vibe or buzz that you get from a bunch of like-minded individuals. Let’s face it, the majority of us like meeting up with people. Pretending we’re "connected" because we know what our friends are thinking 30 seconds ago is like saying we’re master chefs because we know how to stir. It’s part of the picture, sure, but it’s a long way from the whole caboodle.