Following up from my previous post on Conversation vs Noise. This is about carrying out discussions, this is not about status updates like “I just had baked beans on toast for dinner”, nor is it about the reliability of the service (given Twiiter’s recent problems). This is purely about using the service to carry out conversations with intelligent people, yes there are people like that on the internet.
You only carry out conversations, with your friends. If one of your friends replies and on of their friends (but not one of your friends) joins the discussion, you miss part of the conversation and it becomes fractured. The only way to stay on top of this, is if good Twitter etiquette occur with lots of @ and you follow this up adding new people as friends.
This a great way of finding friends with similar interests, but it can be a lot of work. And once you start following people this generates a great deal of noise. Particularly when your friends are talking to their friends who are not your friends.
Another one of the disadvantages of twitter, depending on your number of friends, that unless conversations are tagged with #something, it is difficult to follow conversations and if you leave even for short period of time, you are lost.
If you start the conversation it is carried out with your friends, if somebody else starts, you are part of a discussion with their friends, which may or may not be your friends. If you want your all friends involved, you either start the conversation again with them or convince them to become friends of the other friend.
The big advantage of Plurk is that conversations are threaded, you can go have lunch come back and get right back into the conversation.
You start a conversation, if a friend joins it, it becomes available to their friends. If friends of friends join in, then it becomes available to their friends. So if you start a truly engaging conversation it wil expand well beyond your circle of friends. The downside is there is a lot of noise,
The conversation is threaded, so you can leave for a short period of time, you do not miss anything.
What I do
So what do I with 190 Twitter friends, 55 Plurk friends and 45 friends on FriendFeed. I used Twhirl to connect to Twitter and FriendFeed and keep it open, when I am on the computer which is most of the day every day. I will visit Plurk site a few times a day, more often if there is an interesting conversation, less if I am busy. Other social networking services, I am lucky to vist once a day.
Personally, I do know who much longer I will keeping using Plurk. It is a good service to carry out conversations with a closed group of friends. The lack of a desktop application is hurting, as does not knowing if you are talking to your all friends when you comment on another friend#&8217;s post.
Twitter, I will keep using even given the recent problems. I have close to 200 friends and find it a great service to exchange small pieces of information.
FriendFeed, I am finding this service more and more useful, both for conversation and information discovery and it appears to be evolving. The desktop apps and there are number of them and the ability to hide conversations or services (only on the FF website) make FriendFeed so usable.