Yesterday, Brian Kerr posted this little thing on Plurk (source). Plurk’s UI allows you to post pictures that are actually visible.
What came next? A nice little discussion that took 24 hours to mature. The threading and alerts in Plurk made that possible. With Twitter, the value-add of the conversation would have been lost. Twitter is such a temporal tool, without conventions like @ or # tags, threading is impossible.
Here is the Plurk discussion:
Context is often driven by the circumstances in which the context itself is generated. Your User Interface, like Twitter’s, may have marvelous impacts on how certain types of communication are conducted – but they do not help with all kinds of communication.
There is no Tower of Babel User Interface.
In this thread, the context starts with a pesky cat looped cartoon and ends with a discussion of non-attachment. What @mitten dubs the “kitteh paradox” after Brian defines the core issue – happiness is transitory if you are attached to a certain definition of happiness (cereal or sitting on the table).
This contextual evolution is primarily due to the Plurk UI which allows this thread to maintain itself over the course of hours or days. I still use Twitter every day, but I also use Plurk – simply because these fundamental UI differences yield fundamentally different types of conversations.