I keep hearing people say that microblogging is just like IRC. Others say it’s nothing like IRC. Here are my views on how they relate.
Microblogging and IRC are different because:
In microblogging you select who you want to listen to. In IRC you listen to whoever comes into the room. Granted, you can view the whole public timeline on a microblogging service, but that’s like trying to sip water from a firehose. It’s not the way microblogging is meant to be used.
In microblogging, you say whatever you like. On IRC, you (theoritcally) hover around the topic of the channel you are in.
In microblogging, nobody can stop you from saying what you like. They can stop listening to you, but they can’t censor you. On IRC, the room mods can kick and/or ban you from the channel. Some channels are read-only and you need special permission to speak.
In microblogging you often see half a conversation (between someone you follow and someone you do not). On IRC you always see the entire conversation, or none of it (if the others are in private chat)
In microbogging, you put something out there for the world to see, and you have no idea who’s reading it. On IRC, you can see exactly who is in the room at the time you type your message.
Microblogging and IRC are similar because:
You have a limited amount of space to speak your peace.
You can easily meet new people from around the world and develop friendships with them without ever meeting them.
There is a sense of community amongst the people you converse with.
I think it’s pretty clear there’s more differences than similarities.