Time Out Twitter Haters

Most of the twitter cynic videos are funny, especially these three (at the end of the post)

Truth is, few people I follow use twitter as a response to the platform’s question “what are you doing now?”. And few people I follow offer live commentary on their life (the ones who do, certainly are annoying).

I have found that of all the social networks I use, twitter is the least hierarchical or clustered. Some find this chaotic, I’m glad there is at least one platform so open. I have had a better chance to communicate with top journalists, top professionals from my industry on twitter not only because it is so open but also because of the mood people are in when they sign in on twitter. When one is logged in to linkedin, I assume, one feels too buttoned up and reticent. While on twitter people seem more open to share and reply to a message (only need 140 characters, right?).

I learn about new things in my industry a lot faster because of twitter. I also have the opportunity to immediately learn what someone I look up to just learned (because they shared the link). This is the most important aspect of twitter for me: access+exposure+immediacy.

My behavior is different from others who use it from their mobile phones, but I only open my desktop client when I find something worthy of posting or once or twice a day to check a few posts from my most imp leaders, and any replies to me.

In my last few posts I:

  • re-posted a link to google’s latest acquisition which I learned from twitter within a few hours of the news. It matters to me because I like to gather knowledge about a few things I am passionate about. Simple.
  • let know that a very good band is playing in my city in a few days
  • re-posted a job opening from a lesser known, yet damn cool, company that not necessarily everyone would have known about (countering the claim: “if you are going to retweet, well I can pretty much follow them instead of you.” And that’s the point.)
  • Gave an example of one industry event, and asked people if they knew more. Got immediate responses and added 3 more events to my list.
  • thanked Gareth Kay of Modernista and Board of Director of the VCU Brandcenter, directly, for coming down to the school and meeting with us students. Maybe I should have sent him an email, but maybe he gets 200 emails a day where 25% of the characters are the formal greeting and introduction parts of an email that the norms of the medium command and he doesn’t have time for that.

My intention with the post is just to highlight some of the benefits I get out of twitter and  call a time out on zealous twitter haters who don’t even use it. My reaction to any new trend when I’m found too late to have participated in it is to be cynical about it. Very sincerely speaking, when I joined twitter in April 2008 I entered it feeling, “damn, why wasn’t I already here and I hate everybody who already knows a lot about this and they are so lame for knowing all this, haha nobody cares about this… you guys are so lame. damn, why wasn’t I already here.”

So, to all twitter cynics, there’s some good in this, join in and check it out.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Twitter Frenzy
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Joke of the Day

8 thoughts on “Time Out Twitter Haters

  1. Interesting post. I am one of those that tried Twitter and found the BS to “good stuff” ratio was too high, so I quit. Between e-mail, text messages, IM’s and Linked In, I feel thoroughly connected with no need to add more “cyber static” to my life, which is what the majority or “tweets” seem to be. Nice article however.

  2. Hey Scott, I will agree that the ratio of good to bs is not very good. I’m sure we all feel very well connected with email, texts and ims. I think as far as digital web innovation is concerned we’re at a stage of marginal improvements, so the ratio of added benefit to new tech development is also in the low fractions; none of this is very profound. But I’m still willing to take some of that.

    A derivative of twitter is http://www.TwitterJobSearch.com . Yes, most of these jobs are posted on websites like monster.com or indeed.com aor linkedin, and the website is just an aggregation of these jobs, with the added feature of immediacy. Is it the difference that monster.com made when it first came up, by no means. But does it give me access to the job poster+does it tell me immediately as a job is posted+does it expose me to a lot of postings quickly? Yes, it’s marginally better. So I’m buying it.

    I also agree that with twitter there is a huge bubble of expectation, most of us are doing things on twitter expecting something amazing is going to happen. Eventually we’ll know the answer of what works and what doesn’t; there will be more pragmatism.

  3. Very interesting points Sriram and thanks so much for verbalizing much of what I have been thinking about lately as well. I completely agree with you that much of the hype on “why twitter sucks” seems to be coming from those who don’t understand how it has transformed communication. I’d easily say its become more similar to a chat room than instant messenger or even facebook status’.

    The thing I would note is that I’ve felt that my tweets, being an eclectic mix of personal and business updates, is meant to give anyone who follows me a nice, rounded understanding of who I am and what I am all about. For the most part, I don’t hide who I am, what I believe in, how I do business, what my interests are, etc… For this, I really feel that I’ve received some great feedback and even relationships from Twitter. Its allowed me to find folks that I never would have otherwise crossed paths with.

    For better or for worse, I think folks in the web, design, advertising, and marketing industries are going to have to get comfortable with twitter and understand that the new frontier of business is going to be complete transparency.

  4. Hey Dan, sure, twitter is a lot like a chat room that one can plug-in to at one’s own convenience and thread a new conversation at any time.

    I think the presentation of a well rounded personality as opposed a sculpted personality is one of the advantages to look forward to. Knowing someone well I’m sure aids better and frank conversations.

    As far as transparency is concerned, there will be some who will be on one extreme, others more controlled. But I’m certainly liking that we’re seeing humans more directly behind brands. I’m amazed how these guys manage to reply to questions so quickly on twitter.

  5. Hey Sriram and Dan –

    You both make very good points which I respect. My point is that for many people outside of the “Tweetosphere”, communication is more than almost constant 140 character messages. I am also seeing a “pushback” from the 24/7/365 information (much of it trivial) overload where people want to return more to their “analog” lives (phone calls, letters, books, etc). I also wonder when Twitter becomes so commercialized and “establishment” that members liken the service to solicitation phone calls and look for the next “big thing”.

    respectfully –

    Scott Witthaus

  6. Good article.

    Like Scott, I initially joined twitter, and soon I was confused. What questions me is, why can I not do this in Facebook? Granted, the interface is a little different. Little. If Facebook lets you “follow” + allow a wider network, where would twitter stand then?

    I see twitter similar to chat clients such as MIRC and ICQ, where the fundamental idea is great but is not broad enough to stay sustainable.


  7. I still don’t get the allure of Twitter. I’m a new member just checking it out. It seems to me like a bunch of people with too much time on their hands. I mean, WHY would I want people “following” me? More importantly, WHY would I want to bother logging into a website to see what other people are doing “right now” a.k.a “following them”.
    Get a life…..

  8. The problem with twitter is, it was not invented for a purpose or a purpose in mind. Take anything like email, IM, even you tube, craigslist etc. they were started for a purpose. People understood why they are using them, and – easily. Look at twitter. Tell me what is the purpose behind twitter. It was found by a bunch of crappers. If they can make twitter useful for something then it is good otherwise its waste. Look at http://www.istwittercrap.com for yourself.

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