Twitter: More Social, Less Networking
A strange thing happened in London tonight. Strange, but good.
Just over a month ago, the Harvest Twestival was a twinkle in the eye of @benrmatthews, @timhoang and @tommalcolm. With lots of help from lots of Twitterers (Twitter? No? Watch this) and the impressive event skills of @amandita, the event that took place in London tonight was a packed-out success. Hopefully, the Twestival’s aim of making money for charity delivered the goods too.
Firstly, the gender split at the event was a lot more balanced than I’ve seen at other digital-type networking shindigs. It could be down to the organisers’ roots in PR, but judging by the professions in the room that didn’t seem to be the case.
Secondly, everyone’s name badge used their Twitter handle, @toodlepip in my case. Amongst people that I knew, it made little difference as I’m usually following them on Twitter already. For new folks, it made more interesting introductions where impressions were formed from their contributions to Twitter rather than their name, job title, company, etc.
I’d never met many of the people I follow on Twitter before and my pre-conceptions of what they might be like from their tweets were usually way off the mark, in a good way. In many ways I was reminded of what it was like meeting contributors to Chinwag’s email forums for the first time, where my impression was built from their email contributions rather than other abstract information.
Probably why the Twestival’s focus on the social rather than heavy-duty networking was a welcome relief, especially after a full-on week of uber-networking in New York.
So, despite the fact Twitter is an interruptive, time hoovering service with many useful uses, and as many useless ones, still in the hunt for a business model, it’s micro contributions enable users to build a reputation based on 140 characters and less on extended profile blurbs. I’m still not convinced it’ll last another 18 months, but I’m enjoying the ride and hoping to be proved wrong.