“The future is wide open…” Tom Petty

I’ve written about Twitter several times recently, so I’m not looking to tax your patience with another Twitter post…however, there is a story I wish to share that occurred last night at the SEMpdx / pdxMindshare event.

I was chatting with @wayne_rowe and @davidmihm about Twitter. David had been a reluctant holdout to the medium and asked me to describe its value. I had launched into an explanation attempting to make an analogy about our networking event as a microcosm of the whole Twittersphere…when I realized that I had just tapped into a rare vein of verbal acuity where what I was saying seemed to be really insightful and meaningful (I tend not to do well at cocktail hour conversation). After I finished my Twitter riff, I knew I had to attempt to write out what I told David and Wayne.

So here it is recreated to the best of my ability…

Imagine a typical professional networking scene full of well dressed professional men and women drinking and talking…

“(facing David & Wayne)…Look around the room. We’re having a conversation…one of about 50 going on at this event.”

“Now imagine you had the ability to listen in on all 50 conversations simultaneously. Furthermore, you have the ability to participate in any of the 50 conversations that you find interesting. Beyond that, you have the ability to engage any person in the room in a new conversation about any topic you wish.”

“That is what Twitter is about. Twitter is conversation participation omniscience…it is taking the power of what I just described and doing it on a global scale. On Twitter, there are an infinite number of conversations going on that you can participate in. On Twitter, there are an infinite number of interesting people that you can engage in conversation. From Twitter, there are an infinite number of possibilities arising from these conversations.”

David signed up to Twitter today, so I think he gets it :.)

12 thoughts on “My Best Explanation of Twitter

  1. Excellent explanation! I have forwarded the link to your post to several folks who I have had a difficult time illustrating the value of Twitter. Nice chatting with you last night and thanks for all the insights!

  2. I’m definitely going to give it a trial run — I’m still not convinced that I will actually keep up to date with it, but you never know! 🙂


  3. Great analogy, Todd. The other day I was trying to describe Twitter to someone. It took 15 minutes and wasn’t quite as clear. Maybe a cocktail or two would have helped. 🙂


  4. I love your explanation! The main phrase that hits it home for me is “conversation participation omniscience.” Awesome!

    By the way, your spam question isn’t so easy for people like us lawyers. 🙂

  5. Todd this is truly a fabulous analogy. Plus you can rub elbows with people you might not ever get invited to a real party with. I am delighted when I see a big name following me – even though I know they must use tools to filter (else they’d go insane) it’s kinda neat.

    And as much as I like to dress up occasionally, I’m happier networking in sweats!


  6. Ah, why did this analogy escape me until now? Thank you for saving us the awkward anquish of puzzled expressions from the other side of the lectern.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department


  7. “there are an infinite number of conversations going on that you can participate in”

    Contrast that to another quote I heard some time ago (sorry, don’t remember the source)

    “Soon we will all be gasping for time like a drowning person does air”

    The possibility of participating in an infinite number of global conversations is extraordinary and exciting.

    It also makes me want to unplugged everything, go live in a cave, and talk to only myself about getting my life back from the clutches of the Age of Information 😉

    The weight of possibility can suffocate actuality.

    Seriously, exciting stuff. Intoxicating. Seductive.

    One could even get swept away.


    Tom Hale
    AdWords Specialist – Internet Strategist

  8. That actually is a really good explanation, I always thought of Twitter as like the status update feature on myspace or Facebook, but that sounds like it’s worth signing up 🙂

  9. Swing (insert crack-of-bat sound here)…

    Announcer: It’s a high fly ball to center field, will it clear the ivy? HOME RUN!

    Cubs win, Cubs win!

    Great analogy Todd 🙂

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