Until last week, I hadn't heard of Twitter. Then Cole blogged about it, and the ETSTalk Podcast folks talked about it. They're looking at Twitter as a tool to facilitate shared awareness of organizational activities.
Twitter is essentially nanoblogging (I just made that word up) – stuff that is more of a quick "I'm doing this right now" kind of status update rather than a blog post. You create a set of "friends" and get to see updates in almost realtime of what they're up to. Right now.
Cole's investigating this from the perspective of "how would a tool like this affect teaching and learning, and running an organization" I'm not doing anything quite so lofty, I'm just playing.
What's kind of cool is that it makes it easy for me to track what I'm doing, so when it's time to do the Dreaded Procrastinated Timesheet Entry mere hours before the payroll cutoff, I could just spider the list of archived updates.
I'm not sure if there's any value in Twitter per se. Other tools have been doing this, from full-on blogs to tools like Facebook and MySpace. Do we really need a separate tool for this? Maybe it's a good thing because it's so tightly focussed…
The design of Twitter might be a bit overly simplified though. There's no way to define the audience for an update, although you can set a global flag that affects all of your updates. It'd be handy to have a private/friends/public distinction, so I could track stuff that nobody cares about, only my Friends, or everyone else. Also, the ability to tag updates, either as categories/keywords, or even with contexts ala GTD, would be handy, along with an interface to filter by tags (show me all things done @Work wih the tag "drupal" in the last 2 weeks)
The Twitter website needs some serious love, too. The UI is painful (tiny icons for "friends" and the only way to get a name is to rollover and wait for the tooltip. ick. etc…) and it's often really…. slow….. but it's usable with the addon tools like Twitterific.
Regardless, I'm dnorman on twitter. Like that's the first time I've been called a twit.