I had a look at the Twitter website a couple of months ago, and didn't really think it was that special, but so many people have commented on it in the meantime I decided it was worth checking out again.
The basic principle is that you write up your brief and current thoughts for other people to read - but these are limited to 140 characters per entry. Your comments can be viewed by the world, on the Twitter home page (like a global stream of conciousness), or just shared with friends and followers.
To give them their due, the creators of Twitter have come up with something new and original. It sits in a new space somewhere between email, blogging and instant messaging. I'm still not sure that it'll be a lasting success, for a few reasons. The comment size limits you to spurious, off the cuff comments, which by their nature tend to be quite vacuous. It also depends on you establishing a mini-network of friends and followers before you start to see comments that you might actually be interested in. It also relies on one finding the time to actually enter your comments - hardly worthwhile until you've created your network (as no-one will read them). The main question on my mind is: how will I interact with Twitter? I don't want to clog up my RSS reader, and I guess I'll just see stuff when I return to the site to post new comments. Will that be enough to get me hooked?
There is already plenty of engaging, intelligent content on the web, and its mostly more than 140 characters long. Having said that, my speed blogging has conclusively proved, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that amazing, stimulating, intelligent posts can be written in less than 140 characters. Wink.
All that said, it was eerily satisfying writing up the first comments. And a few of my friends have replied in the meantime, and I've replied to them...the start of a snowball?
So anyway, here's my Twitter page. Feel free to come and join. I've invited some friends to join in, at least the ones who won't mock me for this. And I've started following Robert Scoble's twitter page. Lets see where this takes us.
Some points of interest: Presidential Candidate John Edwards is on Twitter - he posts to it directly from his mobile phone. Or at least one of his team does. And there is genuine concern that Twitter won't be able to handle the increased traffic at particular conferences or in the event of, say, an Earthquake in San Francisco. Like it or loath it, people are interested in it.
Also, this being all about the cross-polination of content, I've added a twitter widget to the right hand side of this blog.