A type of E.S.P.

There are many different ways that people are using Twitter these days. Just like blogging, I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way to use the product.

Some are promoting their website and their brand. Jack was on Fox News today talking about how politicians are using it. Companies are using Twitter as a new type of customer care. Some people only use Twitter Search to see what people are talking about any given topic in real time. Some use Twitter in as public, always on messaging service. Thrid party developers integrate Twitter with their apps (I saw an interesting one this morning).

And of course, many people use it to answer the question: “What are you doing?”

For many folks that don’t use Twitter, the idea of answering that question publicly is confusing. Why do my friends want to know that I’m drinking coffee or going out for a run?

The Sunday NYTimes magazine has an article about Twitter & Facebook (and a Tumblr mention too!) and the idea of ‘ambient awareness’.

This is the paradox of ambient awareness. Each little update — each individual bit of social information — is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousands of dots making a pointillist painting. This was never before possible, because in the real world, no friend would bother to call you up and detail the sandwiches she was eating. The ambient information becomes like “a type of E.S.P.,” as Haley described it to me, an invisible dimension floating over everyday life.

That’s how it works for me too.

Read the full article here.