In the last couple days, Dave Winer has posted a couple pieces (here and here) discussing Twitter and the twitter culture.Â Specifically he addresses the issue of Twitter relationships being imbalanced in that mutual relationships are not enforced.Â I can “follow” a bunch of people and those people don’t necessarily have to also “follow” my Twitter stream.
It should be noted that Twitter provides an option that one’s tweets can be viewed only by their friends, so that (optionally) a mutual relationship can be enforced.
Today Dave notes that folks might start whining about “A list” Twitterers (Twitterees?).Â Like blogging, the open, imbalanced format works well and helps to allow non-A list people to observe and participate in the discussion.Â Why?Â Because if Twitter enforced mutual relationships, no-name folks like myself would never get onto the radar of folks like Dave, or Scoble, or [insert favorite A-lister here].Â The reality is that most of what I Twitter about is likely of minimal interest to them… but occasionally I have a moment of intelligence/usefulness/zen/relevance.Â If they’ve denied me in a mutual system, they’ve also denied themselves my voice and opinions about their writings.Â The imbalanced system promotes reading, thinking, and discussion.
By allowing for imbalanced andÂ open information sharing, more voices enter the discussion and (generally) the intelligent and relevant bits of information bubble up to the top of the heap.Â Blogging (or Twittering) in an echo chamber is darned near useless.Â Therapeutic, perhaps, but not productive.Â If I build off of something that Dave or Robert says, it’s in an open format, it’s public, and others can then absorb or build upon that information as well.
Twitter encourages discussion.Â Why limit discussion?Â Participation levels are entirely voluntary.Â Requiring the excusivity of a mandated mutual relationship model would limit the reach and usefulness of the service.
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[tags]twitter, davewiner, alist, socialnetworks[/tags]