The Party Line Circa Social Media: Twitter


Telephone_operator_cir_1904 It's Sunday and I'm multi tasking with a dose of social media thrown in. Reading Twits from around the word. Often referred to as micro blogging following a twitter thread can be like listening in on an old fashion party-line.

What's a party line? Glad you asked. In the days when there were not sufficient lines for everyone to have their own private line people shared a line. When the party line is already in use, if any of the other subscribers to that line pick up the phone, they can hear and participate in the conversation(Wikipedia).

Twitter is an online service that enables you to broadcast short messages to your friends or "followers." It also lets you specify which Twitter users you want to follow so you can read their messages in one place. - Newbie's Guide To Twitter. Other micro blogging tools include Pownce, Jaiku and even one for micro videoing - Hictu.

Curious to what people might chat about in 140 characters or less ..  here is a sample of what my Friends were "twittering" about this Sunday morning.

The Weather was a popular topic from England with Hugh to Susan, Graham, Francois , Kyle and Chris around Boston to in Canada to Marianne in St. Louis and Matt in Cleveland.

Winter trivia from BL. 10 billion snow flakes make one snowman. Frosty who woulda known? After dancing to Aretha Franklin BL has an idea for a new reality show .. Dancing with Dogs. Max would like that one!

Jeremy and Josh are wondering about winter travel plans. While in Canada Maggie has an extra day at home because of the snows.

An inspiring thought to start the week from Dina - When I let go of what I become I might be." Lao Tzu
Amy, Graham and BL twittered a link to a podcast to a lecture by William McDonough, Center for Social Innovation ".. to think beyond the reduction of business externalities when designing industrial and commercial processes, services or products. The goal shouldn't be to do the wrong thing less badly but to do the right thing."

Brian provides some information about Google profiles.

Congrats to Mister Robert Scoble who twittered he was celebrating 7 years of blogging today.

A from the heart twit from Jeremiah who links to wonderful 50 year love story of Chinese couple Liu and Xu. One has to be brave to love like this .. sigh.

Connie  puts out a twit request for a graphic designer to create banner art for cancer fundraising site.

... and the beat goes on. This great quote from Shel Israel wraps up this now Sunday pm post ..

Social media is, in fact, in a dynamic stage and so are the quantification efforts. Shel Israel  SAP Global Survey: Part 4 Business Analysis


Trackback url:


thanks for this post. twitter really is a great community if you know how to use it.

i wonder how different the tweets would appear during the work week?

gotta go build a slush man now. how many slush atoms in a slush man?

Posted by: B.L Ochman on Dec 16, 2007 1:27:07 PM

Toby, within 10 minutes of tweeting a request for graphic design help, I had two volunteers. There's a great community on Twitter.

Thanks to Twitter, I knew that BL was sick (and many others, it seems) and when she posted a link to YouTube, I got to see her swing dance performance. Loved it!

It's a nice glimpse into the personal as well as professional lives of my social media colleagues.

Posted by: Connie Reece on Dec 16, 2007 2:32:19 PM

It's a major conversation hub. I've even conducted transactions and sold my Wii on Twitter. Anyone that wants to friend me can at

Posted by: Geoff Livingston on Dec 16, 2007 4:12:07 PM

Twitter really has become a vibrant community, and for me in many cases it's actually replaced blogging. I don't have the time to read and write and engage as much as I used to, and Twitter has filled that void. I can still connect with friends and colleagues, still be present in what I've heard described as "ambient intimacy" or "continuous partial attention" and get things done. I've also had similar experiences to Geoff - whenever I ask a group question, I get 3 to 5 responses within minutes, always thoughtful and always helpful.

I was recently interviewed for a magazine article and asked what I thought the biggest emergent trend of '07 was - I said Twitter. It's much more manageable that operating a blog, flickr or youtube channel (for most) and something I think will really take hold with large numbers of people in '08, provided it's stable ;-)

Posted by: maggie fox on Dec 17, 2007 7:22:57 AM

Toby - thanks for this post - I've sometimes wondered about Twitter - the party line is an excellent explanation to the experience especially when someone is new to Twitter. It is definitely a new twist to my life in the social media world. I'm still learning how to navigate it and find friends. :-)

Posted by: Cyndee Haydon on Dec 17, 2007 9:43:21 AM

@Cyndee - It's also fascinating to me to see how people are using micro blogging in terms of actually business transactions. Maggie's, Geoff's and Connie's experiences are great examples. Also the Red Cross is exploring micro blogging for use in disaster situations. I'm happy to be your Twitter friend Geoff left his Twit info also ;-)

@BL - great point. knowing how to use these new tools is key and not always that easy.

@Connie and @Geoff - thanks for sharing your experiences. real examples help put it into a perspective.

@Maggie - love this - "continuous partial attention"

Posted by: Toby on Dec 17, 2007 10:26:28 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.