Today Jeremiah Owyang at Forrester threw down the gauntlet and dared people to be his friends on Twitter. Soon he was racking up the friends on each screen refresh you can see his progress.
His blog post gathered hundreds of comments which translated into about 100 new friends on Twitter.
Chris Webb talks about this, expanding on David Armano's assertion that Twitter is a conversation ecosystem. Yes, an ecosystem can get mired down by ambient pollution - in this case "throwaway" tweets. But he links to things like Tweet Scan to filter for you:
This is all true, to an extent. I was an original Twitter detractor that now uses it rather extensively.
There are a few things about the "noise" on Twitter that have become clearer to me.
Number 1 - Noise = People. People are social animals. I love that I can crowdsource with Twitter, but you won't have a crowd if you are a free rider. Joining in on the daily conversation and interaction on Twitter is important. You have to be known to the group. That's just how social circles work. So the "what you have for lunch" tweet which people use to devalue Twitter is actually why it works.
Number 2 - Your Network Requires Familiarity. Part of any real social network is that you have some things to bond on. The twitter exchange below is me throwing out a fairly arbitrary public whine about Pogo, a comic strip long lost in the annals of popular culture, and receiving back social value from Brian Kerr - a guy I've never actually shaken hands with.
The noise we seek to filter is where the value actually lies.
Is Twitter a conversation ecosystem? Yeah, probably. Is a bar or a prison a conversation ecosystem. Yes.
In actual ecology, things are messy. Mud and feces are the building blocks of life. Our throw away posts are what gives life to the conversation.
Jeremiah tossed out a post that will expand his ecosystem today. Will he get a lot of polluting posts, a lot of trash tweets? Oh yes. Will he get more benefit from the Twitter party-line of communication? Absolutely.
Indeed, in twitter, the mayhem is the message.
UPDATE: Here is some proof of the power of Jeremiah's twitter feed, which is up 5% on the day: