Why microblog when you can IRC?

I’ve been meaning to answer Glyph for a while:

Maybe the reason I don’t “get” this Twitter thing is I’ve been using IRC for much the same purpose for a decade, and the UI is better.

Finally I have an excuse, that is, I wrote it up in someone else’s blog comments and can just lift it and edit it here. I have a feeling that I am cheating by using more than 140 characters though.

Advantages of microblogging over IRC:

  • it’s easier to find out where the cool kids are playing; (Do you think Stephen Fry or even Sarah Haskins would tell me where their IRC channels of choice are? Me neither.)
  • I do not sign up for a whole ‘channel’ in its entirety, with an entire social group, ongoing conversations and complicated social conventions in order to microblog; and
  • it’s not real-time. I am basically the person email was designed for. I do not real-time. Even people I talk to when forced can vouch for this.

Bonus advantage over Facebook status updates: following my microblog does not require that we are friends, or even ‘friends’. You can just read them. I do not thereby have to share my high school graduation date and pictures of my hypothetical cat with you. (That said, I am now going to create a Facebook album entitled ‘my hypothetical cat’.)

Disadvantages of microblogging over IRC:

  • yeah, the clients suck;
  • when I do get in a conversation with someone(s) I am limited to 140 character messages (plus boring any onlookers), or figuring out how to switch media; and
  • the overhead of a social group and ongoing conversations do have some benefits: I’m more likely to admire someone’s wit and insight from IRC (or their blog) than from Twitter or identi.ca.