Peer pressure and the new intimacy


Okay, if somebody can explain to me how I can send messages to twitter without having to pay SMS fees I am willing to be pushed by my dear friends into this new nonsense of hype tools. *g* Well, maybe just for reading them.

In case you do not know: Twitter is a site where you can sms to some short blast and it will be distributed back to your friends. As it seems there should be a IM version as well.

It got me thinking about how different we treat our communication nowadays. At least with most people I am dealing with on a friend basis I do see a longing for something open for all – but still closed enough to not be open for everyone. You know. Like in those old days when you had your favorite IRC channel?

IRC channels had the benefit of that you kind of know the people who are in there and if you are a regular, you know who to deal with. And what this will mean if you post something in there. Like known ground. And I am missing that.

It is a miracle to me how most messengers can figure out the normal 1:1 chat in a nice way but totally miss on what IRC channels have been for a long time. If you look at the “feature sets” for channel communication in skype and other IM clients – they are rotten. But why is that bad?

Because I do not want to talk to a person 1:1 every day. Or I may love to chat with somebody all the time – but the other person might not want to. It is intrusive. Channels on the other side are more like “hey, I have to say something, somebody wanna talk?”. You can throw out ideas, comments, or just links and somebody in the mood might just pick it up.

The basic difference to 10 years ago is the amount of people online and the splintering up of all the services. Back then you had your nickname and could see a person on different channels through the whois command. Today? Not so much.

But we have blogs, don’t we? And we do comment and reach each other? Well, yes and no. Yes of course we do see what other people read – but it is to a much wider circle. The world (and those search engines) read what I may not want them to read. But I would love to bolt it out to a handful of more or less known people.

I don’t know about you, but I have always been quite strict about how I handle the things I get to know. If it is on a blog, web site it is open. If it is in a channel or on a mailing list, it depends on the content. A link to a site will mostly be accredited with a “via IRC/mail”. This is not to not credit the person who gave it to me, but to make sure no unintentional harm is done. Liek for example this nice “Porn For Women Retrospective 2006” link. You would never believe where that came from – and it would take me ages to explain. Personal IM are not bloggable or even distributable unless I get permission – which I ask and will add the question for “with your name / nick or just plain this way”.

And then there is the timing aspect. When I am on a channel, I can grumble about something, or just ask for what I should cook from these three ingredients and and and. I will get an immediate answer. Which I do not get on a blog.

Meet Twitter. People going in for Twitter are – at least from my point of view – of the kind to give to a limited degree information about themselves out in a blast which is a bit different in openness than it is with a blog. It is more intimate. And who want the time aspect too. In essence it is just a mobile chat client with a limited feature set and friendlist. ;)

You can see this wish for intermediate communication in Skype as well – people have misused their name field to fill in for a blast feature until they managed to implement it. Yahoo 360 has had this from the beginning and I think that is a perfect feature – except it was limited to Yahoo 360.

So all in all back to the roots – and most of the people doing these new services have roots in IRC as well. So why oh why did they not transfer the tools as well? *deepsigh*

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3 Responses to “Peer pressure and the new intimacy”

  1. Rachel says:

    I’m using neither SMS nor IM – I’m just using the web client. And there is a different level of intimacy. Yes, if you make it public your stream is available to all, but you can limit it to your friends. And it gives a far different perspective on someone’s actions. You only give out what you are comfortable sharing and I see people giving a general life commentary to just updating infrequently. I still find it a fascinating look at life of people you know

  2. I know they’re all subtly different, but how many more of these little band-wagons are we all going to jump on to? What with MyBlogLog, Twitter, Skype, blogs, comments to name but a few aren’t we in danger of suffering from the internet equivalent of verbal diarrhoea? I’m all for transparency, but I still enjoy the idea of people leaving a little to the imagination!

  3. Nicole says:

    Yeah, I have gone for the web client to test it out.

    And Alex yes, I do agree – it is not always what we should see of one another. Then again, I have seen worse on IRC.

    If somebody likes what they are doing there and does it better than in other places well then they shall just go for it. So far I am not seeing something which will last in the long run. At the moment it is cool, but that will fade soon.

    And the next hype will come up unless it provides really something useful.