The web has always fueled people's insatiable needs for an information quick fix. It seems blogs were only the first step. My two latest addictions are Twitter and Tumblr.
Twitter has been described as a cross between IM and blogging. It has the requisite social networking aspect in the form of "friend" relationships with other twitterers as well as the open apis that help it mesh with the Web 2.0 meme. The premise is that you use it to post what you are doing in 160 characters or less. Posts can be made on the web or via, im, sms or desktop app. To give you an idea, the most common post I've seen so far is "It's late. I'm going to bed." When you make a post it is shared with your friends via sms, email or badges you embed on your website.
Where Twitter becomes interesting is during situations such as a conference. Recently at SXSW it was all the rage to post where you were, what you were watching, where you were going or quick thoughts on things you'd seen and heard. As a way to mass update a loosely connected group it's brilliant. I've created an FITC account and already have 40 friends without a single bit of promotion. My FITC friends now get insider updates on what we are doing in the lead up to the festival.
There is lots of debate around Twitter. Many people feel it's a fad that will die within months. A narcissistic device for super type A personalities to fuel their egos with. I'd have to agree on this to some extent. On the flip-side there is a lot of potential here and I think Twitter stands a chance to become a useful tool.
Tumblr is a very recent discovery for me. Aside from it's name making me hate Flickr for removing my favourite vowel from application names, Tumblr might just feel a certain void I've been seeing in my own needs. Many people see it as not being any different than Del.icio.us but I don't see it that way. It's similar to social bookmarking but more diverse. I find it more like a blog for people who can't write or have ADD.
Tumblr provides you with blog like tools and output but is geared at getting right to the point. Users post links, videos, quotes, photos or short posts. It's like a packrat's dream web-app. Integration with Youtube, Flickr and the like make it easy to highlight content from the other apps you already use. I've only got a few days worth of Tumblr posts up so far but feel free to check out my page to get the idea.