Post 10, 2009: Some reasons why Twitter is and is not the new e-mail.

I’m getting a fair few Direct Messages and @messages from Twitter friends – and folks like PRs.

They’re using it as an alternative to conventional messaging tools like e-mail.

Is it a good idea?

Perhaps, because Tweets are:

  • Short! (mercifully so compared to many emails)
  • Intimate, thanks to Twitter’s rules it is very hard to spam someone
  • Deniable – Email is pretty reliable these days and false positives in spam filters are rare. Twitter’s flakiness as a message delivery system is therefore potentially useful!

Perhaps not, because:

  • Twitter is unreliable – if you want to communicate something important, will Twitter get the job done?
  • Twitter messages don’t queue well. Many Twitter clients – and Twitter itself – collects @messages. But while I, for one, process all my emails every day, I might go days without reading every @ message I’ve been sent.
  • I have a whole application that collects and stores email and makes them available offline. Most Twitter clients rely on a live link to Twitter and do not store many messages, reducing the chance I will read a tweet vs. reading an email.
  • Direct Messages generate email anyway – so why use Twitter?
  • Can you really say that in 140 characters? (Yes, probably, but I am saving that for another post)

What do you think?

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One thought on “Post 10, 2009: Some reasons why Twitter is and is not the new e-mail.

  1. I think I find DMs more useful as a replacement for emails that would have replaced phone calls, then for emails that would have replaced mail, if that makes sense.

    So – I DM someone at work (when I’m not there), looking for a moreorless immediate response, that I wouldn’t get from email. And that’s about the only time I use it.

    (Hi, BTW – I just dropped by from your twitter page, which I came to via Elissa)

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