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Twitter and the bi-directionality of Web 2.0 November 23, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts, Twitter.
Tags: , , ,

While this week (and weekend) has been incredibly busy, I still managed to see Joe Solomon and Jonathon Narvey for a really quick coffee. Both Joe and Jonathon live fairly close to me, and we tend to hang out at JJ Beans. It’s such a cool coffee shop. They were there to play chess, and I just did a mega-ultra-quick visit to catch up with them in real life.

At some point in our conversation a couple of nights ago we discussed the bi-directionality of Web 2.0 and Twitter. I indicated that in fact I DO know many, many of my Twitter friends in real life, and that I’m actually friends with them.  Karen Parker and I mentioned it to Shane Gibson at the recent Tweetup: our usage of Twitter is much more social and less business-oriented. Arieanna and Ianiv mentioned this point to Ianiv’s family one night when we were having dinner: we have been able to develop our friendship through the use of Twitter, because it keeps us connected even though we are in remote places.

David Drucker actually suggested this theme as a potential topic for Northern Voice 2009: how to stay connected when you’re far away (if you remember, I was away from Canada this past summer for about 1.5 months to attend a funeral and be with my family). Even though I wasn’t really in Vancouver, I kept my connections with my friends through Web 2.0 tools – Twitter, my blog, GTalk, Flickr, etc.

One element that Jonathon, Joe and I were musing about is the need for bi-directionality in Web 2.0. In the case of many politicians, their use of Web 2.0 was dismal. Broadcasting your very next move is not what Web 2.0 is all about. It’s about bi-directionality. You speak, I answer. You drop a comment on my blog, I respond (or I monitor the discussion so that I can jump into the conversation at some point). You tweet at me. I tweet back. It’s a 2-way street. I just hope politicians and newcomers to Twitter and the rest of the Web 2.0 applications can understand that.


1. Raphael Alexander - November 23, 2008

I just signed up for Twitter yesterday. I have no idea what use it is yet, but I’m giving at a shot. hopefully it’s not one of those two minute fads like Facebook where you end up with 600 friends and about 5 who actually message you.

I haven’t noticed Jonathon Narvey on the political blogging lately, although we were in the same aggregate at one point. I’ll have to check out how his blog is coming…

2. mullygrub - November 23, 2008

I cannot agree more about the importance of bi-directionality in web 2.0. The beauty of it is that those who use it as a broadcasting service often fail or get ignored because of web 2.0’s inherent “power to the people” design – what we choose to watch and listen to. If politicans and marketers want to reach an audience on web2.0, they need to engage in authentic dialogue, not company lines and other blather. great post – thanks for sharing.

3. jnarvey - November 24, 2008

Great seeing you Saturday! We’ll have to follow up on that sustainability discussion next time.

As for the social media points, I can easily understand how politicians and others tend to mis-use apps like twitter as mono-directional broadcasts. A few days before election night, they’re looking at short-term gains. Building relationships, which is the ideal, does take time. Hence, they use social media in sub-optimal ways, hoping to get SOME benefit out of it.

Obama’s campaign showed that building relationships over the long term through social media pays off in huge ways — but for most of his two-year campaign, he had the resources to go that route, far more than most politicians. We’ll see if more politicos start planning long-term social media campaigns, rather than gimmicky last-minute campaign tricks. I hope it’s the former.

4. nancy (aka money coach) - November 25, 2008

I *love* the possible theme of “staying connected when you’re far away”. I may be making some big changes in the next couple years (lots up in the air) and seriously the thing that makes it psychologically possible for me is the connection I know I’ll keep up via twitter/blogging.

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