Twitter’s just a big chat, right?

S’funny. There I was thinking that Twitter was in some way different from, well, anything else. To the extent that it had taken the web publishing model and reduced it to the finest level of textual granularity, expressed as a 140-character “tweet”. And it’s a platform, open API’s, the lot.

Meanwhile, we’ve been using Skype as our messaging tool du choix between Freeform team members. We even use it for voice sometimes, but text is the default.

So there I was last night, getting on with various things – with a MadTwitter window open on the left, and a Skype Chat window on the right. And, behold, I was using them both in exactly the same way.

Sure, there’s differences. Twitter is the ultimate in broadcast chat – when I post, it’s like shouting across a crowded room where everyone can hear (and fortunately, not everyone is shouting). Meanwhile, in Skype I have to pre-select people I want to chat with – but I can have multiple chats with individuals and different combinations of groups. I can access Twitter on the Web, through phone or via my handheld, and while I can’t open a Skype window on the web, I can do the latter two. With Twitter, I can write to it from other programs. So I can with Skype. Etc, etc.

Other messaging apps offer a bunch of facilities that are much more controllable than either Twitter or Skype, including IMvironments, talking avatars, enterprise logging features, unified comms and so on – which makes me wonder even more. Aside from the “following/followers” concept, what exactly has Twitter got that traditional messaging hasn’t? It’s important – because while this would be quite a simple feature to add to the majority of text messaging clients, it would be quite a challenge fro Twitter to bulk itself up to offer these stock features.

I’ve probably missed the point entirely, but then, so did the kid who said the king had no clothes on.

Twitter’s just a big chat, right?

2 thoughts on “Twitter’s just a big chat, right?

  1. Well yeah, but so’s Skype, for example. For me certainly I was looking at the new-ness, to see each message as an RSS-able posting for example, or to broadcast mesages out to a broad community. There are also plenty of similarities, and who’s to say these things won’t be added as features to other messaging platforms. Google’s acquisition of Jaiku will be the one to watch, to see how and where it gets integrated.

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