Time magazine has a feature about the rise of Twitter as a major growing social routine as well as an impending huge force in American business and culture. Readers here know I’m already in something of an argument here at Technology Report with the most excellent Jeremiah Owyang of Forresters about this topic after his keynote at the Twitter 140 conference suggesting Twitter is simply enjoying the early buzz from a hype cycle that will relegate the service to obscurity soon.
Not so, say I and I think Steven Johnson of Time would agree. He’s summed up an important aspect of Twitter very well:
I think there is something even more profound in what has happened to Twitter over the past two years, something that says more about the culture that has embraced and expanded Twitter at such extraordinary speed. Yes, the breakfast-status updates turned out to be more interesting than we thought. But the key development with Twitter is how we’ve jury-rigged the system to do things that its creators never dreamed of.
In short, the most fascinating thing about Twitter is not what it’s doing to us. It’s what we’re doing to it.
A particularly intriguing aspect of Twitter is that in the purely technical sense it’s not really anything all that spectacular. What makes it special is that it’s changing the way people behave with respect to technology, opening the tech window for many who have been waiting for applications that allow them to express themselves without the bother of blogging, gaming, or interacting with the stereotypical onliners who tend to skew “highly technical” and “young”.