I'm sure someone's done this before, but was thinking the other day about the raft of 'online interaction is killing real interaction' type angst we've been having and wondered if we should look at it the other way, ie why real life isn't as good as online. Here are a few things I wish I could transfer from Twitter to real life:
Hashtags – how many times have you found yourself half way through a conversation with someone when you realise you are in fact talking about different things. It then becomes too embarrassing to admit your mistake, and you realise some of your previous responses may now look a bit odd. Hashtags would avoid this so at the end of your opening sentence you would set out the appropriate tag eg #conversationwehadlastweekaboutgardenfurniture
Block – oh yes, we'd all like to block. In a physical environment you can only do this by removing yourself, or asking the other person to shut up, neither of which is desirable or advisable at times. So, when some bloke in the pub is voicing his opinion on, say, asylum seekers, you can simply block, and carry on with your own conversation.
Direct messages as back channel – again, there are times when you would like to communicate directly with only one other person in the group. We try and do this in face to face situations by adopting contorted facial expressions, which can be misread or just missed. How much easier it would be to have direct messages? eg 'I disagree with what my father is saying here, but if I argued we'd be here all day.'
@replies only visible to followers – this is quite a subtle feature in Twitter. If I send a reply to someone, then even if you follow me you won't see it, unless you follow that person too. This allows some filtering of interests. For example, if I follow someone because they are a Spurs fan, then we can have a discussion about a game (eg how we were robbed by Man Utd at Wembley because of an iPod). If you follow me as an OU person, then it's unlikely you will follow the Spurs chap too, so you won't be bored by this. If you are a Spurs fan you might follow both of us, and so join in. In real life there are times when you want to have a conversation which might be dull to some, but feel restricted from doing so.
140 character limit – come on, we we all know people who would benefit from this restriction.