I happened to notice that my wife, who has never subscribed to any kind of online social network, was reading somebody’s Twitter feed (just by visiting their page with her browser).
“Ha!”, said I. “I bet you don’t even read your husband’s Twitter feed!”
“I didn’t know you had a Twitter feed!”, she replied.
Well, that’s fair enough, I suppose. I’ve only been tweeting for 11 years, and no doubt she would have found out about it eventually if I kept it up.
It did make me wonder, though, how many others may be using Twitter in read-only mode?
Twitter is somewhat unusual in allowing full public access to the content without requiring you to have an account, and if you do just go to ‘twitter.com/username‘ without being logged in, you get a rather different experience from that of the typical Twitter user.
It’s not necessarily an inferior one, either: you don’t get advertisements, and you play a more conscious role in deciding what you read because you’re either viewing the feed of an individual (and their retweets), you’re viewing a discussion thread, or you’re seeing everything relating to a particular hashtag. There’s none of the chaotic jumble of a personalised, commercialised, firehose.