Evan Williams is my Tamagotchi

By Narendra Rocherolle

I have become a bit of a Web2.0 junkie. Why not? For product development and innovation, there haven’t been so many new things happening since 1995. I mean *big* things, like, “Wow, you can animate a gif file! This changes everything!” big. All these new toys are delivered daily by an incredibly efficient distribution systems like GigaOM, TechCrunch, digg, et. al.

My most recent fascination is with the genre of nanoblogging–new publication services centered around small bursts of information about your location, presence, mood, etc.

The most visible of these is dodgeball (now part of Google) and the latest is twitter. These services pose a bit of a challenge for those reporting on them because they are at least “conceived” with a younger demographic in mind which almost precludes someone a bit older from actually “getting it.”

Being over 30, I simply don’t traverse the real-world social landscape with the same energy, nor do I have a posse in tow ready to meet up at the next dodgeball check in. It turns out, that hasn’t stopped me using dodgeball.

Before I hit an SMS irritation threshold with the few friends I had on dodgeball I discovered that although I was never going to use the service to sync up in real time with them, they were acting as great filters. I was getting checkins from coffee shops and restaurants around San Francisco that I had either never heard or hadn’t tried. It turns out to be a painless way to track a hipster, stay current, and find recommendations!

Twitter is less structured than dodgeball focusing on capturing moods and moments during the day and sharing them with a circle of friends–a bloggy chat to go! For those who see their mobile phone exclusively for utility, twitter may quickly become a nag. I have a higher threshold than most for new toys and was rewarded with the discovery of an entirely new use case.

I don’t really know Evan Williams. I’ve chatted once or twice with him and exchanged email. I know he founded Blogger but I have never done anything with him socially. His latest company Odeo is also behind twitter and though I couldn’t coax my inner circle into trying something new, I added Evan as a friend. The updates started flowing and I ignored them at first. Slowly, I started processing the 4-5 messages I was getting each day:

“having a vegan scramble”

Hmm. I wonder if Ev is a vegan.

I am driving down the 101 and my phone begins to buzz.

“exploring the web’s seedy underbelly”


“heading south in a van”

Whose van? Where is Ev going today?

I am now hooked. Evan is my Tamagotchi. I have no idea what he is going to do next and quite honestly, I find that fascinating. Heck, if there were celebrities twittering, there might be full-fledged business in the making. 😉

Narendra Rocherolle is co-founder of 30Boxes and Webshots. He writes Nosoapradio, and just for fun participates in endurance events.