Monday, April 14, 2008

What’s the deal with Twitter?

I’m not slow or dim-witted, but I just don’t get it? I really don’t. This whole Twitter hullabaloo seems like such a waste of time, energy and focus. Many bloggers describe Twitter as an addiction, like crack cocaine. Bloggers even write about kicking the habit and going cold turkey. Oh, that’s nice. Another vice I don’t need.

I’ve done my research, went to the Twitter site and watched the video, read enough blogs on the subject to bore me to tears, talked with a bunch of folks in the industry, and I can only surmise that Twitter is nothing more than an outlet to outpour every insignificant (and sometimes significant) thought for everyone else to read. What’s with the need to share every bit of information? “Hi, I landed at the airport.” “I’m at a trade show and this speaker is awesome!” “Has anyone seen my sunglasses?” “Here’s a cool site with some great stats.” Twittering reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld constantly divulging every little detail of his life to his friends … “like the other day I went to the bank and this teller gives me this look …” Enough already!

Share what is really important to those that matter. Have we reached a point in our social media circles that we must be "in the know" all the time? I thought Madonna wrote the book on voyeurism in her ego-stroking film Truth or Dare but I think those that Twitter have an equally insatiable appetite to tell all and read all. Are we so full of self-importance that our thoughts must be on someone’s radar 24/7? Follow me: I have so much to tell you in 140 characters. Yah ok, I’ll get right on it.

One of my employees uses Twitter and finds the online cacophony deafening. He says he’s too busy at work to keep up with the Twittering. He’s lost interest. So have I, and I haven’t even subscribed to the service yet.

Perhaps I’m not the target market for Twitter so I don’t want to fully pooh-pooh something just because it doesn’t make sense for me. It has an obvious following and growing every day. Funny though, none of my close friends even know what Twitter is. We use the antiquated route of updating each other with phone calls and email. I even get together with friends for regular catch ups. Oh so nineties of me.

At the end of the day, keeping up with the random thoughts and interests of my peers, competitors, acquaintances etc., has no appeal.

I have a life, thank you very much, and I need to get back to it now.


Gary Hilson said...

I'm not entirely sure Twitter is really a valuable service but I'm trying it out anyway.

I'm only following three friends, and only one them bothers to post with any regularity.

I've heard some Bloggers pronounce as a new way for a citizen journalist to break news in a real time, thereby giving traditional media outlets yet another run for their money. However, this could allow anyone to start a rumour easily, which as you know travel faster than truth.

Other online services are connecting to Twitter, so I can actually update my Remember the Milk task list via Twitter from either IM or my cellphone

Michael said...


While, I understand your point about useless twitter messages (there are many), I can't help but think about the success of something like the Frozen Pea breast cancer fund that has raised tens of thousands of dollars for research using Twitter as a catalyst.

If anyone is interested, I wrote a case study on the Fund, and have received some good feedback from Fund-inspirer Susan Reynolds:

As for the noise, I've found my threshold and am happy with the number of people who bombard me with sometimes useless sometimes invaluable information.

With that said, it has yet to reach mainstream acceptance, so we'll see.

Julie Rusciolelli said...

Great point Michael, I also heard about a wonderful campaign in the US against poverty which used twitter to get the message out to thousands of people. I love it when Social Media is used to effect change and behaviour. I think the more we use our social media tools to create business value or inspire citizenship the better off we will all be. We just need to find a way to weed out all the crap in between. thanks for commenting ... nice hearing from you too Gary! Hope all is well with you.