This post is going to be about Twitter eventually, but let me start out by dividing the worlds of blogging and/or social networks into two very rough portions. There's personal blogging, which is about what you ate for breakfast, where you are right now, what's going on with your favorite TV shows, your professional activities etc... basically media about you as a person, whether that be personal activities or professional. Secondly, there's content-based media which is still "personal" in that it's generated by a person, but is less about the person than about content. Del.icio.us feeds are a prime example. You'd be hard pressed to tell much in the way of too many personal details about someone from their del.icio.us feed.
These are not wholly discrete, never-the-twain-shall-meet designations -- there are many excellent blogs that combine personal and content; really, I'd argue that the best blogs are almost always a blend of the personal and extra-personal content.
I've made several stabs over the years at personal blogging; Livejournal, different Blogspot blogs, stuff like that. But I've never really been able to maintain a decent rate of post on anything that was intended mostly to be about myself. It's not that I don't consider myself an interesting person, it's just that I've always been a little uncomfortable advertising myself, at least the part of myself that concerns what I ate for breakfast. But compare my sporadic posting on this blog to my bookmarks on del.icio.us -- I'm coming up on 4000 bookmarks now and have more or less been plugging away solidly at it since September of 2004 with no break in activity except in times of net deprivation.
Okay, so Twitter now, right? I'm actually pretty enchanted with Twitter, and Twitter is *nothing* but personal, *nothing* but what-I-ate-for-breakfast stuff. Yet I've got well over a hundred updates on it going back to February. And I find myself posting to it a lot and reading other folks' Twitters, most all of which with scant exception are breakfast-type posts.
Now it's a bit early to tell whether or not I'll stay with Twitter at the rate I've been doing it, but I think probably yes. But why? Not because it's RoR based, although I'll admit that Twitter is probably the best example of Rails scalability. Not because of RSS feeds, AJAX, and all the other Web 2.0 stuff. All that's good, of course, but what I really love about Twitter is its enforced character limit.
In case you're not up on the whole Twitter thing, it's like blogging, except that you can't have a post of more than 140 characters. So instead of having to slog through (or God help us, to write) xxx pages of breakfast-type posts, I have to think of my breakfast with this 140 character limit. And it's completely liberating, weirdly enough. I have (yet) no problem with posting about myself or my activities with this teeny-tiny limit; I feel that I'm allowed to be ego-tastic with posts as long as I keep them succinct. Ego plus prolix = yawnsville.