Twitter? Hmm.

Ok, I have a Twitter account now. Many people really enjoy this service, so I’m ready to give it a shot. But I have a confession: I don’t really get it.

Is this just a passing fad? Is it a revolutionary mode of communication? Or is just fun? Why should I invest the time?

An any rate, I’ve posted my first short message to tell the world what I’m up to. I have microblogged. By ‘the world’ I mean that I am currently following/followed by only two people: a friend of mine in San Diego…and Barack Obama.

Actually, I just added Obama to my list because, well, why not. He’s surely in friend-acceptance mode right now and I support his candidacy. Don’t mind getting updates about what he’s up to. And I’m sure he will eagerly read my tweet. Right.

Anyhow, I have more questions:

Why is Twitter substantively different or better than instant messaging? Why not send an email? Is it about networking? Is it about popularity? Is it about exchange of information? And here’s the real question on my mind: is there such a thing as being too connected?

I can see that what sets a microblog apart from email or chat is universal availability/viewability across time. In other words, it links ‘friends’ together with added benefits: anyone can peek in to read the posts of others (which encourages networking among like-minded people, I assume) and it’s a sort of time-logged journal. By this, I mean it’s like a shared microjournal among peers that persists in a thread across time into web eternity (I guess that’s why it’s called a microblog — no big revelations here). Is this a good thing? Maybe.

Whatever is behind this phenomenon, I’m going to try to get into the social web thing a bit more. I’m still pondering, though, the limits of sharing personal information.

Are you a Twitter user? What do you get out of it? Why do you do it?