"Twitter is a Dumb Time Sink"

The title of this post is a direct quote from me a year ago after one of the first people I followed announced that he was tweeting while sitting on ... ahem ... the toilet. Did I or anybody other than possibly his internist need to know that?

A year later, it is pretty safe to say that the first part of my quote is dead wrong. Twitter is not dumb. In fact, it is smart in ways that many very intelligent people are struggling to understand or explain. I'm not just saying that there are smart people on Twitter -- there are many -- but rather Twitter itself manifests a form of collective intelligence that you and I can both contribute to and draw from as well.

That leads to the second part of my quote which unfortunately has turned out to be true. The tools for accessing and participating in the Twitterverse are immature. If you are not an alpha geek, you might struggle just to get past the setup on some. The screen shot above is exaggerated, but not by much -- and I haven't even shown the half-dozen Twitter apps currently running on my iPhone.

Bottom line: If you really want to get Twitter, no one can really explain it, you just have to invest time and wrestle with the tools. You have to learn how to create and manage multiple streams of non-stop information. More importantly, you have to learn how to quickly scan your timelines for things that matter and ignore those that do not. Easier said than done, but the reward is a possible taste of the future of cooperative human-machine intelligence.