Is Twitter Killing Instant Messaging?

As time goes on I become more and more of a fan/advocate/evangelist of twitter.  It’s amazing how it’s been connecting me more realtime with people I’d never be in contact with, and allows me to really build community relationships.  It’s really becoming powerful.

It’s probably not fair to compare Twitter to live messenger, but I think it’s fair time that MS take a wake up call or two from the potential of twitter and how it will impact the enteprise.  I know the SharePoint team has to take it seriously.  Obviously I’m a HUGE MS Fan, and I’m not loosing my MS Religion.  Twitter is not political, and I hope that it stays that way. 

5 reasons why I’m spending less time invested with instant messaging and spending that time with Twitter… Instant messaging isn’t dead, especially in the corporation, but it sure is taking some lumps and loosing some eyeballs for good reason. Hopefully this means innovation and we’ll see some magical integration. Do I hear a mashup?

Why didn’t cell phones replace LAN lines?  We did make cordless LAN phones, but we never integrated the functionality to give you a LAN line when you walk into your office.  There are some form factor decisions, but I think we could even get past that with the proper blue tooth devices.  It’s always a challenge for the new technology to put out the old because that’s not the design.

(Love to hear how Bob Fox has seen a shift in his Messenger use vs.his Twitter life for example)

1. I choose how I get bombarded/interrupted. With Twitter I decide what comes to me as a text message (nothing), and what comes as an email, and what pops up on the screen.  With the more real time nature of IM, I find the conversations are forced to happen more real time where my twitter conversations can happen naturally over days. My really real friends can text me if they HAVE to contact me super real time.

2.  With Live Messenger the 100 or so contacts I have are overwhelming, it’s tough to find people that are even in my list.  I know I’ve got groups, but the displays and profiles are not easy to manage.  The APIs in twitter allow me to use a non proprietary client which puts me more in control of how I manage my account or accounts.  (Thanks Windows Live for pulling all those people out of facebook.  Still not sure whether I should have done that.)

3. My Mobile to Desktop and visa versa experience is so much more seamless in twitter.  With the rich GUIs and the simple twitter API I find it much more smooth to get up and move from device to device.  With IM, I have to finish a conversation before getting up from my desktop.

4. Instant Messaging isn’t as Social – The design of IM was never to meet new people, so that aspect isn’t really strong with IM.  With twitter it’s the ability for other people to join in and enrich the conversation that really takes things to another level.  That’s why I’d prefer to have public conversations in the public. If someone has a SharePoint question, it’s much better on a public forum like a newsgroup or twitter. 🙂

5. Instant Messaging Status hasn’t been flushed out… needs to evolve – I don’t want to be so accessible when I’m “Online.” I want to have different status’s to different people.  Todd Bleeker has some really good ideas that fell on deaf ears when he mentioned this to the messaging team.  I want to tell work people I’m OOF, I want to tell my top tier friends I’m online and accessible, and I want to say I’m away for the masses.  Make sense?  The away says don’t bother me unless you need to.  With twitter I can spend as little or as much time as I need to looking at the tiered information of direct messages and replies and respond to those that make sense at the time.  With multiple concurrent IM conversations I feel bad not responding, but often I will.  I don’t want to have to.  The line of text we now get in IM is a step toward the integration of the two and the ability to have a richer status.  I can say I’m travelling and where I am, so work people will know I’m on the road, but how accessible I’m trying to be still isn’t conveyed.  If you don’t know someone how approachable are you really?  Via Twitter the non-invasive “you choose how to be impacted” technology says… you don’t mind being contacted.

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Joel Oleson

I LOVE traveling our little planet. In my quest to visit every country in the world I've got about 35 UN countries left! I'm not just country hopping, but looking for the most immersive cultural experiences and capturing them as photos and videos. Yes, I'm also a geek. I've been recognized as a Microsoft Regional Director, a community leadership award. When not traveling, I'm in paradise in sunny southern California as I'm a Senior IT Manager at Blizzard Entertainment.

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