Ten Differences between Skype and Twitter

On the train to northern Germany. Three more hours to go.

It’s been a long day and my motivation to get some work done is kind of missing. So here’s a text message from the train. Longer than 140 characters. Maybe.

Two doctors across the aisle are loudly discussing other doctors, Basel hospitals, the Swiss health system, politics and other details. They are code switching between Swiss German and Arabic (or something that sounds similar). They are getting out now. They were talking non-stop for two hours.

Der Trend zu mehr als einem Betriebssystem:
BTW, I finally ordered a new 13 inch MacBook with 4GB RAM. I really like the size. I guess I am officially a Mac fan. I even tweeted about it!

Twitter vs. Skype:
How do you explain the difference between Twitter and Skype? I was talking about the Twitter Dinner I attended on Monday and a work colleague asked “What’s the difference to instant messaging?”

For the casual observer, none really. Nothing revolutionary. 140 characters organized chronological on a webpage. Like the first webpages, nothing truly spectacular.

Yet again, it is another way to publish even faster. Faster than a static HTML-based webpage or a dynamic server-side based blog.

The future of Twitter will be exciting to watch. Maybe it will just dwindle and die. Maybe new business models will emerge and it will become commercial like websites. Maybe it’s just a stepping stone to something new.

Anyway here we go, my first list in a long time. Here are:

Ten differences between Skype and Twitter:

  1. One to many vs one to one or one to two: I have more Twitter followers than Skype contacts. I don’t follow all of my Twitter followers, while Skype is more or less reciprocal and if somebody doesn’t add me as a contact, I start wondering why.
  2. Public With Twitter I can view the stream, and the faves before clicking the ominous Follow button. By default Skype messages are not public.
  3. More options Skype is direct and immediate between me and another person or a second person. Twitter can be direct and immediate between my friends and me, but it doesn’t have to be. I can post a tweet message without any follow-up or call to action. On the other hand Skypers expect a more immediate reaction. And tend to follow general conversational patterns.
  4. Easier to search thru I can search thru Tweet streams much more easily, thanks to add-on services such as Twitter Search/Summize.
  5. Monitor Like with Google, or Flickr, I use Summize/Twitter Search to find new content on topics of interest, c.f comments on the famous Nutella Alternatives group (funny!) or on a more serious note tweets from Malawi and Zimbabwe. In the same way, companies can find what people are saying about their products. Consumers are more likely to write a 140 character message than a full A4 review on your product. I.e. Twitter forms opinions on products. And unlike statements at a cocktail party, these mini-reviews are searchable.
  6. Unfiltered news from strangers With Twitter I can get raw, unfiltered messages on current news as they happen, c.f the recent bombings in Mumbai. Following “breaking news” on Twitter is more exciting than on CNN and co, as they scramble to get a correspondent online and show the same video sequence over and over again.
  7. Mobile Cos it’s so simple, Twitter offers better mobile phone integration from the start. Unfortunately, the best Twitter feature by far was shut down in September 08. What I call the downstream, i.e. the forwarding of Twitter messages to my cell phone.
  8. Ubiquituous software All I need is a browser and my login data. And browsers are everywhere. I think there’s a possibility to use a Skype widget within a browser, but so far I have never used this feature.
  9. Faves I can store Twitter messages I like by fav’ing them.
  10. Fun I use Skype for work-related stuff. Twitter is for fun. I’m not twittering for the marketing effect. Just fun. I don’t care if 1000 people follow me or not.

And finally it’s art:
I learnt at LIFT 08, that I’m part of a giganormous art project.

Where else can you follow the different time zones having their first cup of coffee in the morning?

4 Replies to “Ten Differences between Skype and Twitter”

  1. I used to wildly suspect that Twitter’s over capacity messages were actually a good synonym for “too many users twittering their first cuppa coffee”….

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