What would we do without Twitter?

A meaningless question for the vast majority of the human population, who never found Twitter in the first place. A question fraught with emotion for those who use Twitter on a daily basis.

As I experienced just now when, dinner over, I thought I would just catch up on what my Twitter pals were up to, what information was being shared, what opinions aired.

Out of luck. Twitter was down, again, for maintenance.

Not always for maintenance, but down often enough lately to be irritating.

Twitter timeout screen image

Back up again now, but who knows when the next outage/downtime will be?

Mark “Rizz’n” Hopkins at Mashable! voices the irritation a number of us are experiencing with repeated outages and airs a thought that sounds like “maybe it’s time to move”.

This is getting to be a bit past the point of annoying, and I’m starting to feel my loyalties begin to shift a bit.

Eric Skiff, by contrast, said that Twitter going down makes him more productive (Update: I got this wrong. Actually, the obverse is what he wrote – that using Twitter makes him more productive: see his comment below).

Larry Dignan says:

Twitter is a classic case of a neat little tool that wasn’t built to scale but now has to because it has become a big deal.

(via Dave Winer, via Rob Bazinet)

I really like the look and functionality of Pownce. But it’s quiet there. When Twitter is up, it’s never quiet.

Paul Chaney sees a race for supremacy between Twitter, Pownce and the video based Seesmic.

And in case this post is particularly obscure, I refer you to Paul’s helpful explanation that Twitter, Pownce and Seesmic are

social networking and micro-blogging applications that allow users to send updates to their respective networks of friends.

How I explain it to people is to say:

Seesmic logo You know how when you get on the bus or are walking along the street and teenagers put their cellphone to their ear and say “Where are you? What are you doing?”? Well, with applications like Twitter and Pownce and Seesmic, that’s what some of us do and it’s really interesting.

Now why is it that they then roll their eyes, go silent or change the topic of conversation? 🙂

I’m pretty sure that unless and until people use these tools, they are going to see the rest of us as highly distractable or perhaps even deranged.

I happen to believe we are part of another fascinating phase in the evolution of online social networking.

Twitter and Pownce are easy enough to sign up for, especially now that Pownce is in public Beta. Seesmic is still by invitation only. But if you hang out on Twitter or Pownce for a while you might get lucky and pick up a Seesmic invitation.

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