Monday, May 16, 2011

Postman

A Neil Postman-type question: What problem was twitter created to solve?

7 comments:

rpvicars said...

Normal social life

Michael Baldwin said...

It's like asking, "what problem was TV meant to solve?"
Fact is, there was a demand for something like it, people love it, therefore the market provides.
And that's what's so great about the market.
It doesn't provide people with stuff they don't want (*cough* unlike govt *cough* ;P)

Bill said...

I assume that the bulk of Twitter users are primarily content consumers, rather than content producers. Without paring it down too much, the problem for consumers is something like, "How can I efficiently find entertainment and information items that interest me?" To solve this problem, Twitter provides a relatively customizable source of quickly processable news, ideas, and links to further content. It's customizable because they can easily follow and unfollow interesting users, including those they do not personally know (in contrast to Facebook) and it's efficient because the short posts can be quickly processed or evaluated (in contrast to an RSS reader). For most users, it's also easy because it's automatically updating and centralized (no need to seek out and refresh several blog and news sites).

The problem it exists to solve for producers is "How can I efficiently share short pieces of content?" In context, many people join Twitter because they want a centralized place to share ideas and links, but find longer-form blogging too tedious or heavy.

Note: given the normal topics of this blog, I'm not sure at what level the question is meant to be asked. The more fundamental problem concerns the means for seeking and sharing of ideas and experiences (e.g., by sharing a link to a photo or video). At some fundamental level, this probably could be analyzed in terms of human rationality, creativity, curiosity, desire for attention, pride, vanity, desire for honor, boredom, etc.

Jim Pemberton said...

Initially, the boredom of some poor programmer, I imagine.

Sirfab said...

It was created and there were two options: it could have disapperared, or it could have prospered. It prospered. Therefore I would assume it does solve some needs. Not mine, as I am an infrequent tweeter or tweet-consumer. But more power to those who came up with the successful idea. (Incidentally, some of the most avid users are part of the news media community.)

Paul D. Adams said...

Problem to solve? To ensure we think in tiny, disconnected perturbations.

Ken said...

Perhaps it might be more appropriate to ask, "What problem was created that Twitter was marketed to solve?"