I get Twitter now.
Until last week it seemed a bit silly to me, perhaps overhyped. But after using it to share updates of my son’s birth with friends and family members distributed across several time zones in near real-time, I’ve become a new fan of this fantastic tool.
Whereas I may have used email to announce his arrival before Twitter (something I also did after the fact), I was able to Twitter the experience of my son’s arrival throughout the day using my phone to simply send a little bit of info at a time via SMS.
Email would have been way too cumbersome for nearly live storytelling like this. Plus, the self-selective nature of it allowed some people to follow my posts who I probably wouldn’t have thought to email.
Flickr served a similar role for my daughter’s birth nearly 3 years ago, and it was invaluable to me again this time now that my mother and mother-in-law are both Flickr users finally. The photo-hungry grandparent is insatiable when it comes to newborns.
But Twitter adds a really nice new dimension to the way we share bits of our daily experience.
It was great knowing that my little brother in London and my older brother in Los Angeles were getting text messages on their phones as this major life event unfolded for me. Twitter made it feel like they were part of the experience, like bystanders, even if the details were as boring as where we ate dinner or what was on the TV in the hospital waiting room (Fresh Choice and Maury Povich, in case you’re interested).
Somehow I think the inability to share those inane details with the people we care about is exactly what makes people feel isolated in this modern distributed world. Well, maybe the world doesn’t need more meaningless data out there, but it certainly needs better ways to get the right data to the right people at the right time.
Twitter does just that.