The Phenomenon of Presence

image003Presence is a new term that has recently come about on the net in the past few years. It’s not your use of the web or number of websites you use but more so what you are doing, where you are, or what you’re doing where you are doing it.

There are several that popped up about a few years ago. Pownce, Twitter and Jaiku. Out of the three twitter became the front runner and in my opinion is still today. What’s important about twitter and what makes it work is not it’s activity but more so the declaration of presence.

I love social networks! Yes i do use twitter a lot I was an early adaptor. It’s a form of micro-blogging in a way and I’m a bit lazy to write big well constructed posts on my blog like this one2 i used to so i put a lot of real time snippets into twitter what I am up to and people can choose to “follow” me or not.

There was recently an update on the look and feel of twitter, which was very much needed! The design is much better now. But basically the majority of my twitter usage is not website based… I think over half isn’t on the total population of twitter. A lot of people i know use twitter clients.

I use twitterrific it’s an app developed for the mac. Retrieving user data via the application programming interface. I send a lot of my tweets to twitter when I’m out and about and sometimes use my twitterrific app on my iphone it there’s wifi around. But I do not use the website all that much all my replies and direct messages go through twitterriffic. That being said I really like the function of changing the background and other colours on the profile page, which I did immediately.

I think what i like most about twitter is that it gives me an audience to broadcast my thoughts and daily musings. I really view it as micro-blogging and I think maybe that’s why I twitter more than I blog because i think “oh that’d be cool let me twitter it” and if it’s interesting you get replies from people you don’t know and helpful tips and links on things you maybe stuck on if you post a question on twitter more immediately than blogging a full article getting instant gratification from a social community.

I really like the way twitter has developed and continued to develop. The way they’ve incorporated different things in twitter that put and interesting twist on what it originally started out for example twitpic where you can post images directly to twitter from your mobile like this for example. Twitter search and much more

When twitter started out users started putting @ in front of the username when directing a tweet to someone u follow in particular. These are known as replies in twitter. like if people what to reply to something i twittered they say something like “hey @mohsin where are u?” There are a bunch of commands that you can put in the text box to indicate what you want to do with a tweet or give instructions to twitter on what you want to do and this can be done thru sms or the client applications or the twitter website itself. I think here’s a better explanation.

I did experimented with a project which I takes the rss feed from our local mosque’s website. The rss feed displays prayer times. So I took this feed fed it into a service called twitterfeed which takes rss feeds and spits them into twitter account of your choosing. So i set up a mosque twitter account that tweets prayer times and when the uk has sms working we’d get prayer times from our local mosques txt directly to our phones via twitter. Though twitter stopped sms service in the uk, so i can only text to the number rather than receive them as well. They have it working the states not sure about Canada though that’d be interesting to find out if it’s still works in your neck of the woods. So when we used prayer times a bunch of us decided to use (* as an indicator (cos it looks like a crescent and a star) that it’s a prayer tweet for data that we could use later like do a search for prayers done in the last hour or something like that.

I’ve seen some hotels using it for bookings i think and I’ve seen other small businesses in the states using it as an advertising/marketing tool which i thought was interesting. And then there were the Presidential candidates who had they’re twitter accounts which was fun to follow thru the primaries and beyond. They just did simple things like twitter at such and such event and things like that.

The guys at twitter have had huge scaling problems especially when the network has heavy usage during the elections and other big events the system crashes. So scaling was a big issue and there have been wide reports that many jumped ship to other services such as Pownce, Jaiku or Plurk. (1)

All of them along with twitter are this new phenomenon on the web called presence, meaning “what are you doing now” really taking the concept of the Facebook status to a whole new level.

I think most of all I’ll be looking forward to what’s the future for twitter. Because like Facebook they have to constantly change and improve otherwise you’ll loose users to other alternatives. There’s an interesting OpenSrouce version of twitter (2).

The beauty of social networks like twitter is that there spawns a whole new sub-industry of 3rd party applications which plug in into twitter but have the same social implications but with a twist like Twitter Usage Statistics (3)

1. Folkstr
2. Open Source version of a twitter system
3. Twitter Useage Statistics