The instant intimacy of Twitter

At a Social Media party this past week, I watched Twitter users cry out and hug each other - upon meeting for the first time. I confess I felt a little left out, as a mere blogger/LinkedIner/flickrer/meetuper/halfhearted facebooker. But I'm comfortable with having to make hard choices about social media.

Twittering, to the best of my understanding, answers the question "what are you doing" in 140 characters or less. Personally I imagine it as a giant collection of Facebook status feeds. On the surface this sounds utterly banal--I'm boring, how interesting can other people possibly be?--but it turns out that knowing what someone cooks can tell you a lot about them. I'm kind of afraid that if I got on it, I'd start to expect people to look like their icons when I meet them. But giant ambulatory teddy bears and talking coffee cups are uncommon.

If you want to learn more, the Cleveland Social Media Club is having a Social Media Showdown. This is a bracket-style 'competition' between social media services--anyone can vote based on any criteria they like. You may vote based on the ones you personally enjoy using, or those you feel have the most potential, or some such criteria. The point is to learn about all these services along the way.