Tweet, tweeted, twitterpated

Marketplace Staff May 1, 2007

Tweet, tweeted, twitterpated

Marketplace Staff May 1, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: So, whatcha up to right now? How about now? Now? OK, that’s annoying, isn’t it? But there’s a new website that asks that question over and over again. It’s called Twitter. The software lets your friends know exactly what you’re doing via the web or IM or a text message. . .Sounds painful, but Twitter’s membership tripled last month. Even presidential hopeful John Edwards is a’twittering. So, we sent reporter Chana Joffe-Walt to give a try.

CHANA JOFFE-WALT: I figured I had tweet to talk about Twitter — yes, that’s a new verb — to tweet. I set out to do a 24 hour experiment — grab some friends and we’d try Twitter together.

But I ran into one problem right away: My social network wasn’t exactly excited.

LUCAS: Why in the world would I want the world to know what I’m doing at that granularity?

IRENE: Yeah, that probably wouldn’t interest me too much.

DAN: It sends it out to everyone’s phones? This is sounding more and more irritating.

But I have some good friends and despite their reservations, they agreed to be tweets for me. So all day long . . .

[cell phone beep] Just got to work. Sipping coffee.

[beep] Unpacking groceries into fridge and putting clothes into dryer

[beep] Thinking about eating bratwurst

Now I love my friends, but do I care?

Charlene Li, a marketing analyst with Forrester Research, says remember when blogs came on the scene? We all said the same things. What kind of narcissistic twits would use this?

CHARLENE LI: It’s a very similar reaction that people have. It’s not the way . . .

[beep] Oooh, sorry Charlene, Lucas is thinking about lunch. Sorry, what were you saying?

LI: It’s not the way they normally communicate. It’s highly interruptive, changing the way that they think they should be managing the time and relationships they have with people.

But Li thinks we’ll adapt to this new mode of communication, just like we did with blogs and with MySpace. She says social networking part of the business plan of every new Web company, and it’s already a multi-billion dollar business.

As for my friends . . .

So are you going to keep twittering?

IRENE: When I first signed up for it I thought as soon as this was over I’d delete my account. And I don’t think I’m ready to delete my account.

Even after the experiment ended the twitters were still coming. [beep] Meeting at the bar. Oooh! Almost done work. Just have to say one last thing . . .Ahem, in Seattle, I’m Chana Joffe-Walt for Marketplace.

JAGOW: Alright I’m signing off and going to get a cup of coffee, OK folks? In Los Angeles, I’m Scott Jagow. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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