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If you read other blogs, you’ll probably have heard about Twitter, a service that lets you tell the world what you’re doing and which can be updated by instant messaging (IM), SMS text message or web. It’s sometimes called a ‘micro blog’ because posts are typically only a few words each.
Not everyone is warm to the idea (see e.g. the summary by Eric Berlin) because of the distraction, egoism and pointlessness of it. But I think Mathew Ingram in Twitter is noise but also signal identifies its value when he says:
"it reminds me a lot of what my 17-year-old daughter and her friends do
with their instant messaging accounts, where they change their login
names every hour or two to let everyone know how they’re feeling"
As far as I know, Twitter has not yet entered the corporate Intranet world to any great extent, but the idea may actually be more useful behind the firewall for transient announcements to e.g. let people know there are problems with e-mail or a part of the building is temporarily closed.
This kind of use works well for the producer of the information – Twitter makes publishing much easier than normal content management systems so even short messages are worth the effort. It can also be better for the consumer because it is low-intrusion and doesn’t persist after the situation has changed (how many times have you come back from holiday and had to clear out emails saying somebody the week before had left their car lights on?).
Most people add a twitter gadget to their web pages, so the same idea could be applied to integrating with your intranet home page. Not a big change there, but what Twitter does is challenge us to think about how we might provide our publishers with similarly easy ways to publish and update their content.