Tim O’Reilly’s article Why I Love Twitter, which was published one year ago today, had a lot to do with my getting on Twitter. I’d been a long-time regular reader of Tim’s blog, so his strong endorsement of Twitter convinced me to give it a try. A year later, I’m glad I did. It’s been a great ride … So, as my way of saying Thanks, I’m excerpting his article below.

  1. Twitter is simple
    Twitter does one small thing, and does it well.
    See also comment by @mgco – “i couldn’t agree more, twitter = simplicity
  2. Twitter works like people do
    If I’m interested in someone, I don’t have to ask their permission to follow them. I don’t have to ask if they will be my friend: that is something that evolves naturally over time. … Twitter’s brilliant social architecture means that anyone can follow me, and I can follow anyone else … Gradually, through repeated contact, we become friends. …
  3. Twitter cooperates well with others
    Rather than loading itself down with features, it lets others extend its reach. There are dozens of powerful third-party interface programs; there are hundreds of add-on sites and tools. Twitter even lets competitors (like FriendFeed or Facebook) slurp its content into their services. But instead of strengthening them, it seems to strengthen Twitter. …
  4. Twitter transcends the web
    Like all of the key internet services today, Twitter is equally at home on the mobile phone. …
  5. Twitter is user-extensible
    The @syntax for referring to users, hashtags, …  were user-generated innovations that, because of Twitter’s simplicity, allowed for third party services to be layered not just on the API, but on the content.
  6. Twitter evolves quickly
    Perhaps because its features are so minimal, new user behaviors seem to propagate across Twitter really quickly. …The most fascinating evolution happening on Twitter isn’t an evolution of the software, but an evolution in user behavior and in the types of data that are being shared. … I saw this myself with retweeting … I became one of the most prolific retweeters … it’s fascinating to see the growth of retweeting …

[From Tim's concluding words]: In many ways, Twitter is a re-incarnation of the old Unix philosophy of simple, cooperating tools. The essence of Twitter is its constraints, the things it doesn’t do, and the way that its core services aren’t bound to a particular interface. … It strikes me that many of the programs that become enduring platforms have these same characteristics. … What’s different, of course, is that Twitter isn’t just a protocol. It’s also a database. … That means that they can let go of controlling the interface. The more other people build on Twitter, the better their position becomes.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

This is a subset of my list that has all titles as of November, 2009, when Google announced that they would provide their own list. The titles below are my subjective picks, based on generality of interest and/or length of availability.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I recently fell into a nice little example of how tweets “accumulate wisdom” as they get retweeted — Starting with a simple “link to a good site” sort of tweet, then someone finds an especially good specific page down inside the good site and retweets that, then the next retweeter sees an interesting angle on that page and adds a hashtag for it … The ball just rolls along … Until it eventually leads to a series of good comments on my blog … all because of that simple little tweet that started the ball rolling …

The ball started rolling when I saw this tweet, that links to the Genetic Science Learning Center home page at Univ of Utah …

ettagirl: Learn.Genetics | Univ of Utah site about genetics, bioscience and health http://bit.ly/3fLrZu
5 days ago from web · Reply · View Tweet

I found a cool specific page at the Utah site that I thought would be more likely to draw interest than just linking to the home page …

ericrumsey: Cell Size & Scale – Move Slider – WOW! (Univ Utah, via @ettagirl) – http://bit.ly/YwzA8
5 days ago from web · Reply · View Tweet

Hugo Buriel (@BurielWebwerx) found my tweet, and in retweeting it, he made the perceptive connection to Seadragon (see my words about it below), which I hadn’t thought of  …

BurielWebwerx: RT @ericrumsey Cell Size & Scale – Move Slider – WOW! (@ettagirl) – http://bit.ly/YwzA8 (expand) <– time for some #MooTools/#Seadragon
5 days ago from web · Reply · View Tweet

The Slider tool at Utah does indeed look like pages viewed with Seadragon, an innovative Microsoft technology for seamless zooming. I became interested in Seadragon a year ago, and even wrote a posting about it, so I wrote a tweet to link to that posting …

5 days ago from web · Reply · View Tweet

This was (I assume) seen by Graham Storrs (@graywave) on Twitter, and so he sent in his useful comments to the blog article.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

John C. Abell, in his recent Wired article Steve Jobs’ Legacy Is the Missing Clue to the Apple Tablet, suggests that in the same way that he invigorated animated film with Pixar, the music industry with iTunes, and the mobile phone market with the iPhone, Jobs’ next mission is to invigorate the publishing industry with the Tablet. Abell talks specifically about the newspaper and magazine publishing industry, but his comments, I think, can easily be broadened to books also, as he talks about making readers forget about the printed page. I’m excerpting here because the words about publishing may be missed by many readers — Short excerpts, but with considerably more valuable nuggets than will fit into a 140-char Tweet:

If he is looking for One Last Thing, saving journalism would be the Holy Grail. … The device will have to make readers forget — really forget — the printed page. E-readers, for all that they do, don’t do this yet.

After detailing Jobs’ accomplishments in invigorating other industries, as mentioned above, Abell concludes with these words:

Even given this track record — and what we choose to believe is the all-trumping motivator of perfecting his legacy — a device-centric initiative that saves newspapers and magazines that seem to be in perpetual, some say irretrievable, decline, sounds next to impossible.

But is anybody seriously willing to bet against the house — of Jobs?

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I love serendipity — I happened to see these two pieces on the same day recently, and couldn’t help putting them together. Is there a meaning somewhere here? ….

Information on the Internet That Should Go Away, Roy Tennant

This is the kind of information I wish would disappear: old, outdated, in many cases downright misleading or incorrect. Now to only find the algorithm for determining these characteristics and nuking this dreck off the net! (boldface added here and below)

A case of great minds thinking alike? …

Google Announces Plan To Destroy All Information It Can’t Index, The Onion

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—Executives at Google, the rapidly growing online-search company that promises to “organize the world’s information,” announced Monday the latest step in their expansion effort: a far-reaching plan to destroy all the information it is unable to index. … “Our users want the world to be as simple, clean, and accessible as the Google home page itself,” said Google CEO Eric Schmidt at a press conference held in their corporate offices. “Soon, it will be.”

Fun Kicker — My first idea for a title for this article was “… Trimming the Internet.” Then I thought differently, and googled for “weeding the Internet” to see what might turn up – Sure enough, one of a handful of retrievals with that phrase is a library handout from libraries.uc.edu on The Library vs The Internet, sounding just like Roy: “No one’s weeding the Internet, and sites with seriously outdated information are still available.”

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey