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Microblogging may be the next phase of online conversation. At least that’s what people who are using Twitter and Jaiku believe. We’re still unsure about its potential, but we’ve set up our own Twitter profile to join in the conversation and figure out what’s really going on here.

These microblogging services enable you to receive a stream of updates throughout the day either on IM, your mobile phone, or through a desktop widget, or simply by logging into the service’s Web site. So with’s Twitter edition what you end up receiving are shorter updates from our blogs and stories. Each post comes with an automatically generated Tiny URL, that links back to the longer version of the post.

For personal communication, the tools work to provide updates on your friends’ whereabouts and activities. Twitter also recently launched a mobile edition, for users who have Internet browser capability on their mobile phones. Fortunately the mobile version can alleviate some of those SMS charges that a lot of users have been racking up.

Though microblogging is a lot like IM or SMS, at the same time it’s not. While I’m talking to person X you can see what I’m saying to that person, and if you happen to also be that person’s friend, you can join in the discussion. OK, so that might sound like a group chat, right? But you actually have to bring people together for a group chat. In this case, it’s just happening, organically, all day, throughout the day.

For a clear understanding of what Twitter is all about, read danah boyd’s Tweet Tweet (some thoughts on Twitter).

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