It comes as no surprise that I like Twitter for lots of reasons ... the primary reason for me is that it seems to solidify connections in close to real time. Facebook has surprised me in its ability to do something similar in the recent months. Both seem to be really interesting steps forward in the online conversation space. The one thing that both of them have going for them is a very powerful, "what are you doing right now" approach to status updates. This simple question pushes people to participate and to me it is the most powerful piece to coalescing community.
With that in mind I read a really good piece at the NY Times the yesterday called Being There, about the art of the status update. My favorite line from the whole thing was a simple statement about what a status update really is ...
Spontaneous bursts of being
I really enjoyed the article and decided to conduct my own status update InstaPoll on my network to see what I got back. What I found was that people want to be drawn into a conversations via a status updates. Most are interested in the notion of engaging with those "around" them. That is really interesting to me ... some people view the status update as shouting into an empty room, but what it looks like from my very informal and unscientific data gathering is that people crave engagement ... they want to respond to where others are in the moment.
Seems to only make sense given our intense interest in not only providing constant updates, but our incessant need to know what people think in 140 characters or less. Some of the better responses to my question, "What makes a great Twitter/Facebook status update?" are below ... if there is anything you might want to add to this conversation leave as a comment.
- @colecamplese re: your survey. I think good status updates offer a chance to continue a conversation. personal/professional items are good.
- @colecamplese asking a question everyone has wondered but never asked?
- @colecamplese I think they are (should be) different... Tweets for more frequent (often mundane)...Facebook for daily/weekly "bigger stuff"?
- @colecamplese Small, mundane little things that when taken out of context seem oddly amusing....and lots of punctuation.
- @colecamplese whatever you feel in the moment.
- @colecamplese NOT where I am or what I'm cooking. New blog post, new idea or concept, looking for discussion - yes
- @colecamplese totally depends on the reader IMO. Interesting stuff to ME makes it a great post. (news, games, VW stuff, etc)
- @colecamplese I totally agree with Bart. I love opinions, what peeps are doing, where they're headed, etc.
- @colecamplese something that makes me laugh
- @colecamplese re instapoll Posts that helps me learn/think. Links to interesting stuff, plus reasons why I should click. News, questions
- @colecamplese layers.
- @colecamplese witty comment about common activity.