I tried to make a number of points in the workshop, among them that Twitter is extremely simple to use (so why not give it a shot); that yes, it has a silly name, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful or valuable (Google had a silly name at one point too); that it is a great way of a) reaching out to and connecting with users, b) promoting our stories and c) finding sources for stories (otherwise known as “real people”); and that there are a number of tools that can make it even more useful (Tweetdeck, etc.). I also noted that you really only get out of it what you are prepared to put into it, and that the experience depends a lot on whom you choose to follow. And just to drive the point about promoting our stories home, I noted that our most-read story ever racked up a lot of those views because of Twitter.
(read the rest of this post at GigaOm)
I also wondered why the Twitter team didn’t include more features, and why they left it up to external services to do things like search (which they eventually acquired by buying Summize). But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the smallness and lack of features is actually a positive, not a negative. What Twitter did was strip all the clutter of many social networks away and pare things down to their essence.
Obviously, the reporter went way beyond the norms of civilized conduct — not just the norms on Twitter, but pretty much anywhere other than the federal prison system. What started as a simple frustration with another person quickly escalated into abuse. But that’s not why it got so much publicity on Twitter and elsewhere, getting mentioned in Valleywag, the Telegraph in London, ZDNet, and even getting re-tweeted by the Stephen Colbert Show (the barometer of all that is newsworthy in our society). It got passed around so quickly because it was a reporter who had a meltdown — a professional who let his emotions get the better of him.