Centre of the Twitterverse
Yes, the Twitterverse is the name we give to the environment within which Twitter people do their stuff. All around the world, every minute of the day, someone, somewhere is tweeting something. It may be something trivial, or it may be something important - a link to a useful site everyone should know about, for example. Some people tweet to a small circle of friends. Others have a vast 'following' of thousands. Some, such as politicians and celebrities use Twitter merely as a broadcast 'send only' medium, to get their message across. They follow no-one or just a select few others, and I think that this approach is missing the point of Twitter, because they lose out on the dialogue.
You see, Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media for many reasons. But the most important reason is that Twitter can connect people to each other, and enable immediacy of communication. During an evening teaching session recently, with a group of novices, I sent out a tweet to ask those on Twitter to simply say 'hello'. The group of students were amazed that just a few minutes later, over 30 responses had come through, from all parts of the world.
We are increasingly connected to each other, sometimes through friends of friends, or even more tenuously than that, and Twitter is exemplifying the concept originally proposed by Stanley Milgram of 6 degrees of separation - that we are connected through each other to everyone else in the world via other people. Twitter makes these connections probably better than any other medium, and that includes the likes of Myspace and Facebook. It does it better because this microblog is easier, quicker to use and things are kept to a minimum (restricted to 140 characters only) and you need to follow someone to read their Twitter stream.
I was interested then yesterday to see that several visualisation tools have emerged recently amidst the plethora of third party Twitter tools. The 5K Twitter Browser by Neuro Productions places 'you' at the centre of your Twitterverse, with the most recent 16 twitter follows connected to you. Click onto any one of them and they become a second hub with their 16 most recent follows also connected. Then it gets complicated, because you can continue clicking ad nauseum, to see who else is connected to whom and whether there is a mutual connection. I'm not sure just how useful this tool is, or what it can be used for yet, but it is worth a look if you haven't seen it, just for a nice visual treat.
Oh, and by the way, the Timbuckteeth image (yes, that's my Twitter name) above was generated using another online tool I have been playing with recently, called the Parody Motivator Generator. If you have a spare minute or two, have a go with this too - it's great fun.