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Twitter is like the old telephone system with a "party line" you don't really know who may be listening on purpose or by accident.

Twitter is basically a broadcast system. Yes, you can narrowcast and permit only some people to read your tweets, but those are the exceptions.

So, the silent partner may or may not be a close friend of the person you are communicating with.

It reminds me of early CB radio where you'd share Channel 6 with everyone else, but you and Charlie could have your own conversation in the midst of the other people talking too.

So, I think it would be hard to let you know all the people who are reading your tweets.

OR did I miss your point?

Nahum Gershon

The point is not that other people could read your tweets. It is that others can say things to some of the people you are talking with without you "hearing" it. You "hear" your conversation buddy saying something to them and you don't understand why he/she is saying that. In the real F2F world, it might be considered impolite or even rude... I can tolerate the "rudeness" but I would not like to lose the context of what I'm reading.

jonny goldstein

This doesn't bother me Nahum. I don't feel the need to hear the things other folks are saying to people I'm talking too, at least in the context of Twitter. But I respect the fact that it bothers you to not get that additional context.

On another tangent, a metaphor I use for Twitter is that it's like a panel discussion. By using the @ sign, one can talk with someone, or some group of people, in front of a bunch of other people. It's not exactly like a panel, (there's no moderator, and "audience members") can join the panel if they want. But it sort of is like a panel too
in the "let's talk among ourselves in front of hundreds of people" kind of way.

Nahum Gershon

Jonny, I respect the different perceptions and I'm trying to understand them. The context thing bothers me sometimes because without it some tweets look nonsensical to me while they might be actually sensical. More on this in one of my next posts.

I like the panel metaphor you propose in describing the freedom to participate. This is one of the strongest points of social media and we should take advantage of it. In his new book, "Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations", your old professor, Clay Shirky, eloquently describes the organizational advantages of this freedom that social media provides.

The difference of social media from a panel is (again) the ability to hear all conversations occurring in the room. This might be important especially if a topic is discussed in logical depth.

Jill Golick

Twitter brought me to this post, because I follow Jonny, who I found on originally.
I wish I understood what it means that we are connecting to people via all these social networks, but I don't. I just know that there are people out there saying "hello" or sometimes "Time to get dinner ready" and I'm ready to "hi" back or "check out this link". Ultimately, are these meaningful connections? I'm not sure.
I am also fascinated by Twitter as a storytelling tool. I have been experimenting with using social networking sites for storytelling and I'm dying to try to play out a scene on Twitter. I hope to do it in the next few days.

Nahum Gershon


Thanks for bringing up the "connection" point. I am also "baffled" by the use of the word connection in social media. I think it can have many meanings or gradations. Yes, some are using it for saying "hello" and some are using it for a much deeper interaction. It might be meaningful to the sender and some receivers but to some it might not look the same way. More in one of my future blogs.

How would you see Twitter as a storytelling tool? Maybe we need to talk about it off line-


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