Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Twitter filters RSD and Borg intelligence > 1

I'm continuing my study into the big question, "Why is twitter here?" ;) What is it good for and how will it change my life? As I stated earlier, I think it has value in the realm of tournament updates (a.k.a. live disseminated event coverage) as we saw this year at UPA College. Great, but I still haven't signed up for my own Twitter account.

An article
on Wired helped explain my concerns as very common in society. Like other technologies in the past, we still don't know what Twitter does. Also, it might never revolutionize anything. I don't have to panic and worry that I'll be out on my porch (if I had a porch) yelling at kids to stop twittering on my front lawn.

Well, I've come to two further insights on how twitter might be useful to us. The first is related to RSD. In the past, we've voted on the health of RSD with concerns it is getting spammed to death (gmail does so well on my mail why can't it work for forums?). I, personally, view RSD less and less due to the spam. That, and I prefer the rss format where information comes to me when it's updated and I don't have to visit.

Twitter might offer us a solution here. Using the tagging system we could easily make rsd twitter discussions. To sort the different topics, we would simply use two tags. The first tag identifies that we are discussing ultimate and the second tag categorizes in a topic.

This sort of live discussion format has been used by some blogs to make the commenting/forum based aspect more community based and live. I think it would work as a second RSD based format, but twitter still lacks the character length for some topics and discussions (maybe links to rsd threads solves this problem essentially filtering the spam). For example, ranking teams would be difficult in 140 characters.

The second insight I've had on twitter and our Ultimate discussion community is actually not mine. This TED talk:

by James Surowiecki gave some insight into twitter, blogging, and social networking. The idea I felt so strongly about was this concept that a collective intelligence is better than an individual, and that's what these forms of communication bring. Therefore, my plea to all you young players (as well as mature players) out there is to get involved in the social community. Sure, The Huddle, Parinella's Blog, and Match are written by top players and knowledgable insiders, but your thoughts and your ideas are just as valuable since they come from another perspective. Essentially, the more critical mass we have the better off we'll be as a whole. Who cares if a topic you would like to discuss was previously covered by someone else. Give it your perspective and add to the collective intelligence. Seems Borg like, but it's actually the opposite.



ivar @ said...

Harnessing the collective intelligence of Ultimate nerds around the world is the primary motivation behind The idealism behind wikis (ie: the idea of allowing anyone to create & edit articles) seems like it would be a big hit with Ultimate players, but so far community contribution has been minimal. Any suggestions on how to get more people actively contributing would be appreciated.

moses said...

I haven't used Twitter at all and just "don't get it", but I did watch the Google Wave video ( and think Wave is really going to change things in the ways we communicate. Still won't be out for awhile, but I can't wait for it, as I think it'll make it 10 times easier to have great discussions about ultimate. It could make your blog way more interactive and give teams a way to discuss strategies, plays, etc.

I think of it as email, instant messaging, a wiki, photo album, blog commenting and many other functions all in one tool. The videos long (over an hour), but if you skip ahead to about the 5 or 6 minute mark and watch for a bit, you get a pretty good overview of it.

Mackey said...

For me, the big question is: how do you parse the sea of information to get what's useful? (I suppose the answer to this question is exactly what Google is continually working towards).

That is to say: given lots of comments, blogs, tweets, etc, how do I get a read on what the CROWD thinks, rather than a handful of people in it? I don't think more is necessarily the solution--we have limited attention; most people can't be bothered to scour everything to find a consensus or identify trends.

Surowiecki's main examples of the wisdom of crowds (in a large-scale, rather than small-group setting) involved data points--the jelly bean counters don't offer more than their guess; WHY they guessed what the did, whether they hand-counted, went by jar volume, chose their favorite number, we don't know nor care about. Likewise if we're trying to look at a large network of "chatter" (blog, twitter, or otherwise) and get some sort of impression or consensus out of it, we need to find a way to sift through the noise.

I'm thinking of things like this NYT interactive map of tweeted words during the superbowl this year--this is a easily accessible way to identify some trends, and is vastly easier to use than searching twitter yourself.

How do we leverage that sort of framework more, such that the crowd's wisdom can be mined as data, rather than left dispersed in the cloud? That's the real question that twitter needs to answer to become really useful/relevant. As it is it's just glorified blog commenting or facebook wall posting, as far as I can tell.