Twitter and talking at once

The other night I caught up with some folks who (except for @dbendall) also happen to use Twitter (@fibendall, @iggypintado, @kerrypintado) at a local pub for some grub, a drink, lively conversation & exchange of ideas.

Now this is a smart and entertaining bunch of people. But some of the characteristics of our real life interaction helped me to perceive why Twitter might work so well for some folks.

The hashtag for the evening turned out to be #ihavethetalkingfork. This is because the ideas and discussion around the table were flowing so fast that we were falling over each other to get our words out. In a vain attempt to impose some order, and notion of taking turns, at one stage the convention of the ‘talking fork’ was adopted, only to fail a few minutes later as there were a number of forks on the table.

This phenomenon of simultaneous outbound and inbound communication is something that Twitter enables quite well. You can get your idea out at the same time as I can. Then we can each respond to the other’s idea. This means that, unlike in real life, on Twitter we can almost multiplex our communications.

Some people might just see this problem as one of rudeness. But it is what happens when you put a bunch of people with ideas who, while talking to each other, generate new ideas and made new connections. I learned a lot from being part of the conversation at that table. Some of the things @iggypintado has planned sound amazing.