The Peninsula recently ran a story on Twitter: Small Talk is the Next Big Thing. (Unfortunately, this was on Oasis, which is not published online).
The article predicted that twittering, or micro blogging, will be the next online networking craze.
Admittedly, the article was from the Guardian rather than a home grown piece. And in fact, Nigel, writing directly for the Peninsula, predicted a surge in community websites like Qatar Living rather than in new fads like Twitter.
And in Qatar, Twitter, though already being used, has yet to take off.
One huge advantage
However, in this modern day Twitter may have hit on the key to attracting today's time-starved audience:
In fact you are forced to be quick. Each message has to be written in 140 characters or less.
Which takes seconds.
In today's world of information overload and of people trained by television to have a miniscule concentration span, that's a work of genius.
How to Use It
How you use it depends on your purpose.
It would be ideal for keeping up with friends. However, currently a majority of users seem to be webmasters and online marketers.
(Which is another reason it will be successful. Connect with the key players on the internet and the rest will follow!)
They are using twitter to disseminate ideas, follow industry specific news and to network with the movers and shakers of the internet.
Whether you are keeping up with friends or networking, it is usually best to ignore the question looming over the box: What are you doing?
Most users are not likely to be interested in your current activities unless, as happened to one twitter user, you happen to be in a plane crash (or other interesting event).
Instead, users point to interesting pages on the web (not always their own), keep up with news and have quick fire conversation.
To get in the conversation you have to follow and be followed.
Follow a few people and soon people will start to follow you back. But if you are boring, over post, under post or spam you will soon find your followers shrinking.
A host of services are already following twitter to make it easy for you to search and connect with people.
One is Mr Twitter, which looks at you, your followers and who you follow and identifies people you may wish to connect with.
There is also TwitterHolic, which handily lists twitter users in Qatar.
Twitter may not have many users in Qatar, but those that do use it are major players on the internet.
Al Jazeera and Qatar Airways both make heavy use of twitter, as do a number of bloggers: Mohammed N , Julie Lindsay, the e-learning blogger, Abdurahman Warsame, who runs No Longer at Ease and former Qatar Journal owner Nigel can all be found twittering.
Qatar Living and I love Qatar are examples of those who joined earlier and then, after a brief dalliance, have stopped using it.
I have a feeling, though, that they will be back.
Qatar Visitor on Twitter
Update: 7/01/08 I notice Qatar Living is active again on Twitter!
Qatar Visitor Friends