Twitter , the latest “it” website, is such a simple thing. It asks “What are you doing?” above a blank box where you can respond in no more than 140 characters. Before I smother my enthusiasm with attempts to explain it, I will simply say that Twitter has made the internet, and thus the world, seem friendlier. It’s as if I just realized that we’re all sitting at our keyboards with big grins on our faces. The fun is infectious enough if you Twitter only on your computer. If you hook up your cellphone to send and receive Twits as text messages when you’re eating at P.F. Chang’s, the fun becomes addictive and really irritating to your dinner partner.
Twitter has introduced me to new people. As I watch the steady parade of new “Twits” appear, I click on ones that look interesting, check the profiles, maybe click to someone’s web page, then add them as a “friend” whose Twits will appear on my Twitter home page. Today I have 24 friends–make that 25, because I just added a French blogger whose Twit included a link to a music video I don’t really understand, but it’s nice to watch and listen to. All but one of these new friends are people I have never met in real life.
Many of my new Twitter friends, such as Adam Curry, Robert Scoble, Leo Laporte and French blogger extraordinaire, Loic LeMeur, are web celebs whom I’ve followed in blogs and podcasts. Receiving their Twits is like going backstage with them after the show and hanging out. Someone–the actor himself?–is Twittering as the outlandish fictional documentary character Borat Sagdiyev, whose Twits include this one. There’s even a fake Bill Clinton, Twittering that he might vote for Obama.
I’m still smiling, curious how long the Twitter bubble will last. It’s looking pretty strong now, according to the chart below, which you can click on as a link. It shows the daily mentions of “Twitter” over the past three months. On a thousand blogs a day, people are trying to figure out why this small addition to the internet is so much fun, and what the fun might lead to next.