Posts Tagged ‘Topsy.com’

Twitter, and the Future

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

I may have mentioned, once, that Twitter is very public, and so you mustn’t say anything you might regret later.

As it turns out, this is further-reaching than I thought. I did a search for CozyCabbage, which is my Twitter handle, and I was shocked to find an emerging paradigm:
There are hundreds of services that collect every tweet you submit and cram them into any of a number of categories. There’s a site that gathers swear-words (I’ve pretty much got the lowest rating, with something like “shit” in one tweet), and there’s a Whuffie Bank that tracks your social capital. There are a bunch of services that filter out all but the most popular tweets, so that people can get the most out of their Twitter experience. There’s a service that scans every tweet for websites, and then lets anyone see who’s tweeting what about X website.

That last one is great. It seems someone found the IE6 T-shirt I made! (http://digs.by/lD6)

It seems Andrew Miguelez, a small time web designer from Bucks County, PA, tweeted about it at 2:34 PM on Nov 11th of this year. He had a hard time that morning, because he had stayed up late the other night designing until 3 AM. (Always seems like a good idea, at the time.) He was looking at things like the HTML <button> attribute, and found my shirt.

Stalkery? That only took me about a minute to find.
Topsy.com; go there. “A search engine powered by tweets!”

So, what does this all mean? It hasn’t been made into a big thing (and I only found it all by serendipity), so I don’t see it disappearing any time soon. In fact, these kinds of services will keep growing and branching off. Twitter was an ecological explosion, and now all sorts of different life-forms are thriving on this fantastic new terrain.
I think the future will bring tweets into the forefront of modern society. It sounds pretty perplexing, in the context of the past, but I think were were really waiting for an open platform where we could all express ourselves freely and instantly.

It goes beyond this: I’m sure people had said the same thing about computers, and maybe even about some technology before that. When you get right down to it, there’s always something more to add. Twitter requires us to have the right equipment with us, and it takes us a while to open the app and type something in and press send. When we create a constant network of always-on computers commanded by our thoughts, I think we’ll see yet another huge leap.

This whole Twitter thing is reaffirming my faith in humanity. It’s kind of inevitable that we’ll see science-fiction become science-non-fiction: telepathy, cerebral uplinks, pervasive communications…
Some have painted a bleak picture of fascism and war in our less-private future, but I think the reality is that people will find and embrace each-other, and some fantastic things will be built upon the collective intelligence of humanity.

I’ve been meaning to do a year-in-review, but I also want to do a decade-in-review. I’ve been realizing just how far we’ve come in the last ten years, and that’ll help me see where we’re going in the next ten. I think we’ll get further than most people think. The Social Web is just the beginning, but it shows us what kinds of things we can do.