Kill the “unread” count
Actually, the title for the post should have been “Why Twitter Works for Me,” but it does have some valid things to say about why it trumps email and RSS readers for me.
1) It has no unread count: Almost every application that has hit us since the advent of email has made a point to remind us constantly how far behind are we lagging on information accumulation, processing and categorization. Everything these days tends to tell you that you suck if you are 1) not overwhelmed by information overload and 2) not trying out the zany fancy ways to kill the overload.
2) Simple is the new complicated: There have been numerous attempts made till date to find a complicated explanation for why Twitter works, while the fact is that it works because it is quite simple. All information is presented in flat structure, in a hassle-free manner that saves you from having to tag/organise, categorize information. In Twitter there are no labels, folders or color coding. You can dive in and swim out of conversations at will and also pick your ideal rate/degree of involvement.
In a weird way, Twitter is exactly what you want it to be. It can be a social network, a meme tracker, time-lapse instant messaging or even email lite, which is why everyone has a hard time trying to define it. It means different things to different people.
3) 140 or bust!: Since there is a soft limit of 140 characters per message, Twitter, by virtue of its form, forces users to condense the matter into concise little capsules. This automatically means that value per message per follower or message is considerably higher than what you get from subscribing to an RSS feed. The form itself ensures filtering of the content, rather than having to rely on social categorization or machine categorization.
4) Single window system: The best thing about Twitter is that it does not enforce the use of any particular software or website to participate in the conversations, or just listen in. You can do all the activities specified in (2) using any of the numerous ways that are available to interact with the framework.
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