UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Facebook Or Twitter – Or Facebook And Twitter

Posted by Brian Kelly on 15 Apr 2008

In the opening plenary talk on Hands On The Internetat the Museums and the Web 2008 conference Michael Geist mentioned the popularity of Facebook in Canada – apparently Canada has the highest per capita Facebook usage in the world. And, as described in a blog post on the talk by arkrausehardie Michael described the “enormous pressure a sort of flash-mob FaceBook group can bring to bare (sic!) on public policy such as the recent group started by Geist on copyright issues in Canada, now with more than 40,000 members“.

The interest in the potential of Facebook for engaging with a museum’s user community was described in a number of papers at the conference. For example Shelley Bernstein’s paper on “Where Do We Go From Here? Continuing with Web 2.0 at Brooklyn Museum” described the ArtShare Facebook application they had developed to “share works of art from Museums around the world“. And a paper by Brian Kelly and colleagues at the Canada Science and Technology Museum on “Social Presence: New Value For Museums And Networked Audiences”  described “specific experiments with social media, including a detailed analysis of a Facebook group used by the Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation’s Membership Program“. In addition the paper described “two theoretical models – the “Innovation Radar” and genre analysis – to help analyze the nature of the opportunities for innovation, and to develop a better understanding of the distinctive characteristics of alternate communication channels“.

And yet in some circle such use of Facebook is being derided with comments such as “It’s a closed garden“, “Its popularity is on the wane” or “Twitter is a better development environment” being made. I have to say that I find that such comments tend to miss the point.  A recent post on “The Becoming Uninteresting Complex – Facebook versus Twitter” commented on the “pretty irrational questionings like “is Twitter replacing Facebook?“, Twitter doesn’t allow socialization. It simply allow instant interactions“.

And as can be seen from a Siteanalytics snapshot which compares usage of Facebook and Twitter,  it you want to make inappropriate comparisons, it’s Twitter which fares badly.

Facebook and Twitter Usage

Making these points, I should add that we shouldn’t explore the potential of Facebook uncritically. But the early adopters do acknowledge some of the concerns which need to be recognised. Dawson et al have commented that “There are, however, a variety of potential pitfalls with social networking sites. One concern is whether such sites are a fad or flash in the pan“. The paper goes on to add “Issues of privacy are another important factor. Users of social networking sites appear to be willing to live with great compromises in their privacy. However, even these broad boundaries have been tested a number of times. Facebook, for example, has risked alienating its users in controversies such as the introduction of the news feed in 2006 (boyd, 2006a), and the more recent introduction of the “Beacon” in 2007 (Hirsh, 2007).

So let’s be realistic and continue the experimentation and debate. But let’s also be critical of our preferred environments.  And although I’m a happy user of Twitter and participated in its use at MW2008, looking at the hashtag data for the mw2008 tag I would acknowledge that it was used primarily by a small group who knew each other – and indeed went out drinking together.  Twitter can be useful for some – but it’s not necessarily the killer application for everybody.

Posted in Events, Facebook, Social Networking, Twitter | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Will Twitter Be Big In 2008?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 3 Jan 2008

Something IS Going On With Facebook! I said back in May 2007, in response to a comment made by John Kirriemuir, after he received a sudden influx of Facebook befriending messages. That was my first inkling that what had previously been a rather dull academic network might become the major talking point of 2007.

The post came back to me yesterday after I received a similar influx of people who have have chosen to follow me on the Twitter microblogging tool. And a Techcrunch article published on 2nd January 2007 suggested that “Twitter has the potential of breaking into the mainstream this year“.

The Techcrunch article described the Twitter Stats service which provides graphs showing an individual’s use of Twitter. This is likely to be only of interest to regular Twitter users. Of more interest are the range of other Twitter applications which have been developed over the past year and the excitement which Twitter seems to be generating.

I normally use the Twitter Web site, but I have also used the Twitteroo client (illustrated) and have configured Facebook so that my Facebook status is updated by Twitter posts.


But what’s new with Twitter? Looking at Techcrunch articles about Twitter it seems that the review of 2008: Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn’t Live Without includes Twitter as one of the new indispensable tools released in 2007. Another review of the year suggests that “Omnipresence was another big theme in 2007 with Twitter brining (sic) always on, always available communication to the masses … perhaps overall we’re all the richer for the networking Twitter delivers“.

The uncertainties regarding the benefits of Twitter were acknowledged in a post on Can You Spare The Odd Pea For A Good Cause?The benefits of Twitter may still be subject to heated debate amongst TechCrunch commenter’s, but very few would doubt that Twitter has created new relationships and taken social networking to new (and perhaps different) levels.” The post refers to a cause that’s hot on Twitter (Frozen Pea Friday): a Breast Cancer Awareness and fundraising day in support of well regarded blogger Susan Reynolds. Although in this case Twitter is being used by someone with a clear interest in use of Web 2.0, the way in which microblogging can be used hints at its potential for a wider audience.

A Wikipedia article provides further background information about Twitter but the Twitter-fan wiki provides a more comprehensive list of Twitter applications and ideas for how Twitter could be used. I have started to think about the potential for Hashtags to aggregate microblog posts at an (amplified) event. I was also interested to see how Brooklyn Museum is making its blog available via Twitter. And software developers might be interested in use of Twitter by non-humans.

Now what other interesting applications for Twitter might there be?  And do you feel that it will take off in 2008?

Posted in Twitter | Tagged: | 8 Comments »