Robert Scoble’s recent post The secret to Twitter has raised a flurry of comments from readers on the benefits of “listening” vs. “talking” on Twitter. This has got me thinking about how I use various forms of web services that on the surface focus mainly on output, seemingly adding the barrage of information which floods each of our computers and phones every day.
Working at Jott I spend most of my time focusing on ways to organize that information into simple structures that allow for easy access and dissemination. The challenging aspect of which is that every person has their own threshold for incoming messages, as well as desire to create outgoing ones. Everyone also has a different sense of what the best way to organize all of that is. Creating tools that lend themselves to being useful for both talkers and listeners, while giving them both relevant organization options is tricky. And though sometimes people fall on one side or the other, most of us live somewhere in-between. After all, with no one willing to talk, there would be nothing to listen to, and without anyone to listen, you might as well just talk to a mirror.
I do not drastically differ on my take of Twitter from Scoble. I am definitely a Twitter listener, using it mainly as a news aggregate to scan posts from the tech blogs as they get added. However, I am curious about the boundaries of the talk/listen relationship Scoble, and others (including myself), fuel with their posts. After all, it takes a fair amount of talking to make a point about listening. What about the Jott Link to Twitter? Is it yet another way to contribute to information overload, or a way for you to empty the information you’d like to share quickly and easily? Honestly, I believe that answer is different for everyone.
The line between information contributions and information excess is a debate that will continue. Whether you love it or hate it though, the information age is definitely here. The pertinent question then becomes: how do you use today’s web 2.0 world to help you, rather than hinder you, to do both- talk and listen?