Independent Thinking Blog

Forget Streamtime: Preliminary Impressions of Twitter and the Real-Time Web

I’ve been looking at my Twitterstream in real time since Thursday morning. Unlike the streamtime approach we’ve become used to, real time has no updates. It is a non-stop stream. Instant-ness. Immediacy.

In a blog post aptly titled Trialling Twitter at the Speed of Wow, TweetDeck opened up an experimental version of its desktop app to a handful of accounts. I was lucky to nab one, and so I thought I’d share my first (very preliminary) impressions.

1. Much as our brains have had to learn to process growing amounts of information in streamtime, real time will force us once again to readjust how we process information. I’m not sure yet whether this process will be iterative or require new systems and tools.

2. Without the “chunking” of tweets (via timed stream updates), it’s easier than ever to miss key information–so setting up TweetDeck notifications for mentions and DMs is more important than ever.

3. You can once again pull in replies to people you don’t follow from people you do. This is a huge step to restoring the ambient discovery Twitter took away 15 months ago.

4. We’re following a lot more people than we were 15 months ago, and somehow we’ve gotten accustomed to the quieted stream. I’ve been experimenting with the new functionality restored sometimes–and sometimes silenced when the volume of tweets streaming by gets overwhelming.

5. I’d like to see Twitter (or TweetDeck and other app developers) create a tool that lets me selectively follow the public replies of some people in my Twitterstream without having to pull in all of them. A list that I can shape and reshape to fit what matters to me over time.

Photo by angrylambie1 (Flickr).

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