It's killing me that I don't remember where I heard this, but someone made the comment that many of us online are almost welcoming the demise of newspapers because we think they're outdated dinosaurs, yet at the same time we complain about being overwhelmed by all the content streaming in from web feeds we subscribe to!
While web feeds in Google Reader and Twitter give us many of the same stories a newspaper would have shown us on the following day, one thing they haven't replicated is the newspaper or magazine editor. We've become our own editors for stories we want to see which gives us unlimited power, but then the burden is on us to filter through thousands of new stories a day to find what's interesting and reliable.
The ironic thing is I've toyed with the idea of giving up on services like Google Reader entirely because frankly I just don't have the time to sit down and skim thousands of stories each day let alone read them all, and if you don't it shows you that nonsensical unread items counter. Even Dave Winer has repeatedly made the observation that we don't get a counter on a newspaper or magazine letting us know how many stories we haven't read, because such a number is meaningless and doesn't reflect how we read them.
This is where I think Twitter has had a profound impact on me beyond just reading what someone ate for breakfast (the stereotypical use that keeps getting used for some reason). I follow a few hundred friends on Twitter who comment and link to stories which I then read, and I comment on stories and link to them. In a way I've chosen a few hundred editors who have similar tastes and views (and sometimes beneficially wildly different) as me. In this way, the burden of filtering through all the billions of news stories and blog posts a day is distributed over far more people, and I actually end up reading more as a result. Google Reader has a shared items feature, and sites like Digg let you rate stories, but just as a newspaper feels slow compared to Google Reader and Digg, neither Google Reader nor Digg have the immediacy that Twitter has.
I have no doubt none of us will be using Twitter in several years, we would have moved onto the next collaborative microblog platform or whatever it is (Identi.ca perhaps?), but when you start seeing newspapers and TV shows quoting Twitter you know it's really changing something.
Now I'm off to post a comment on Twitter about an Israeli settlement that's causing problems (no, really?), our PM's latest trip and what type of coffee I'm having at the Boatdeck Cafe. It's not what I ate for breakfast, but it's what I'm drinking. Hope nobody minds ^_^.