A Short Rant Concerning Twitter

Written on August 16, 2010 – 10:20 am | by Jamie Mack |

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I guess I should start out by saying I was never really a Twitter addict; I was never one of those individuals that had to tweet every little thing or just take a peek at the Twitter stream every five minutes (though for a short time there my girlfriend might beg to differ). I was and continue to be fascinated by Twitter, but I’ve noticed that in the last several months that fascination is waning.

It has slowly begun to dawn on me that many of the folks I have, for some reason or other chosen to follow, are really just spewing useless crap that a) I care nothing about whatsoever, or b) has no bearing on my life or interests, or c) simply don’t understand because I really have no context. This has slowly led to an increased disinterest in even checking in on Twitter, and it’s got me to thinking about why I even use Twitter in the first place.

Twitter seems like the Michael Jackson of social media sometimes. Everyone likes it, but secretly harbors some doubts about its inherent goodness. It’s the thing that everyone in the know does, but no one seems to know why really.

Perhaps I’ve missed the boat, or I’m simply not smart enough to get it, but it seems that Twitter has become clogged with an incessant stream of marketing blurbs, product plugs, and self-serving conversations between a constantly shifting set of people one could call the ‘twitterati’. The alleged ‘in crowd’ of Twitter, the super-users, those that sit slightly above us mere mortals who can inspire interest in a random subject or product with just a few timely words. Social media noise. If Twitter were email, we’d call it spam.

But I’ve been asking myself lately: Why? Why are we listening to these people? Why do we care what they say, seemingly hanging on every word? Do they have their fingers so unerringly on the pulse of technology that they have elevated themselves to the status of today’s oracles? I don’t know, I really don’t.

I’m not mentioning any names here, and I’m not going to paste any tweets I feel might be relevant to my little rant, mainly because I have nothing personal against the individuals I have in mind, and hell, I even enjoy some of their social media antics at times, but I seem to have come to a point in my life that surely we must all come to in our increasingly digital culture: that is, how much of this massive fire hose of information is actual useful, or even truly interesting and beneficial to my life?

Alright, I will point to one example that perfectly demonstrates my point. Apparently, singer/songwriter(and I use that term loosely) John Mayer recently caused a stir by saying Twitter was dead.

OMG! NO!

Yes, it’s true. But my immediate question, regardless of my opinion of his ‘work’, is why should we care what he thinks? And does it bother anybody else that he went on to throw his hat into the ring for a different social media platform, Tumblr? Kanye West also just decided to join Twitter after disparaging it in one of his many useless . Again, who cares?

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I don’t. And I don’t care about your new widget, or your new fool-proof method of making widgets which will subsequently make me rich beyond my wildest dreams, or how I can attract thousands of followers to my blog in 48 hours using your simple eight step method. Maybe I’ve just made some bad decisions on who to follow…

How did I come to follow some of these people anyway? Was it because I read somewhere that I should be following them? Were they supposed to be ‘gurus’? I’ll permanently pull the plug on my internet connection the day John Mayer becomes a guru of anything, much less social media. I’ve tried to the follow the pack in the past, but it’s usually left me stumbling along side the road racing to catch up, wondering where I went wrong. I guess this time, as the dust settles about me, I’m wondering why I’m running in the first place.

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  1. 19 Responses to “A Short Rant Concerning Twitter”

  2. By Deep Ripples Bill on Aug 16, 2010 | Reply

    Me thinks he/she doth protest too much. (sorry, jamie, your gender is unknown to me)

    The news of Twitter’s death is greatly exaggerated. Seriously, it could die over night. That’s the web ecosystem with regards to popularity. However, one thing is sure, Twitter changed the paradigm.

    My facts may be off but it seems safe to say that they created the micro-blogging niche. That niche is probably here to stay though it will likely evolve.

  3. By Jamie Mack on Aug 16, 2010 | Reply

    Deep Ripples Bill,

    No, I certainly don’t think Twitter is dying, or going anywhere anytime soon really. I mean, it was John Mayer who said it, not me, and you don’t want to get me started on him. I totally agree with you on the changes Twitter has brought about, that certainly can’t be ignored, nor should it.

    I suppose I have become dissatisfied with my own Twitter experience which is, in the end, completely under my control. I can turn the firehose off and walk away, that’s one possible solution, just not really the one I’m looking for. It seems as though I’ve stumbled onto the crowded playground of Twitter, you know the one with all the screaming kids? Well, I guess I just want to go back inside and play…

  4. By @steveplunkett on Aug 16, 2010 | Reply

    Jamie,

    Do you have “auto-follow” settings still on?
    (maybe you didn’t actually “follow” these people..)

    OR…

    Sounds to me like you should re-examine who you are following and why you are following them.

    Just unfollow the people that spew mindless drivel.

    Different people have different reasons and different motivations for twittering.. and some people REALLY don’t know how.. (those “michael jackson social media types”)..

    just a thought..

  5. By JinAtSmilely on Aug 25, 2010 | Reply

    Here’s my two cents. Twitter is most useful for:

    a) Cyberstalking celebrities, A-list or not
    b) Participating in giveaways or sweepstakes
    c) Hosting giveaways or sweepstakes
    d) Thinking aloud when no one cares
    e) Hoping that someone cares about your mundane thoughts.

    Jin

  6. By Irene on Aug 27, 2010 | Reply

    Twitter can be as useful or as useless as you make it.

    The key is who and how many you follow, keep it to a minimum, select wisely.

    I get golden tips everyday for brilliant, caring sharing people.

    Thanks Twitter!

  7. By Seo Bever on Sep 6, 2010 | Reply

    I am using Twitter to promote my services. That’s the only reason and this is I don’t have time to loose on Twitter.

    I don’t say you can’t find some interesting stuff on it, maybe some people are sharing some interesting stuff, point of views but in my opinion the creators of Twitter made it for sales, marketing.

  8. By VIrginia on Sep 23, 2010 | Reply

    Jamie, I do agree that people are making too big of a deal out of who and what said about something, and Twitter makes a significant impact on that. But, I think if you use it in moderation and understand your purpose of using it, Twitter does no harm for you.

  9. By sjkato on Oct 6, 2010 | Reply

    I know this is rather on the late side, but i found your post and I was rather interested. Though I am curious if your opinion has changed over the months that have occurred over the time since this post.
    It is quite impressive how things have turned out with twitter, how many businesses and other people have jumped at the possibilities of using it to promote their business. I cant say that what they are doing isnt annoying, as if you arent really interested in their product, then it is true, most of what you get is akin to spam. But they are sending information out to many people, so they are expanding their market in a rather creative way.
    True, they could be just alienating their potential clients by clogging up the precious twitter accounts, but I have my doubts that everyone is angry about it.

  10. By East Coast Smile on Oct 13, 2010 | Reply

    Using Twitter for social communication and social/ pop culture updates is one way of using Twitter.
    Another way is using Twitter as an information gatherer and current event updater, sort of like an RSS feeder on speed. For example, am heavily involved in politics. Can make lists of opposition blogs, speakers, etc who use Twitter for updates and Tweets. I get a great overview of what’s going on and get some good Tweeted URLs in the process.

  11. By Elmar Sandyck on Oct 20, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Jamie! I accidentally stumbled upon your “rant” and I found it so engaging and so true that I really had a good laugh reading about your travails on Twitter as I’m Twitter user myself. Good post!

  12. By Elmar Sandyck on Oct 20, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Jamie! I accidentally stumbled upon your “rant” and I found it so engaging and so true that I really had a good laugh reading about your travails on Twitter as I’m a Twitter user myself. Good post!

  13. By Stephen on Nov 24, 2010 | Reply

    Was just sitting in a coffee shop watching people around me with their laptops twittering away. stop and have a look around you with people that are actually there, face to face eager to have a random chat to you. uhm anyone still doing that?

  14. By James Mann on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Jamie,
    Twitter is OK if you have a purpose and you know what you are using it for. There are so many channels out there that you could spend 100% of your time trying to service them all, but Twitter is probably worth it.
    Nothing clever about it really, it’s just like public SMS…people get a buzz out of the public part, and that opens up so many options and possibilities

  15. By Angelas on Dec 17, 2010 | Reply

    @James
    no technology is of any use, if you have it and don’t have a purpose to use it.
    Twitter is a great opportunity to share information (news, photos).

  16. By london dude on Dec 31, 2010 | Reply

    You say in the piece Twitter has become clogged with Marketing with people trying to push things at whatever opportunity. But is that not the case with the Internet in general?

    Every web page is cluttered with something to sell from their own good to banners advertising other companies to Adsense ads.

    Wish I could go back to the good old days when the Internet was not a commercial entity. Now commerce has jumped on the boat in a big way.

  17. By Carmen Brodeur on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    Twitter is nonsense. I have always felt it was a waste of time. I agree with Jim above that it is only good for following celebrities day to day.

  18. By Troy Glancy on Mar 2, 2011 | Reply

    Haha, I’m glad I’m as bad as the guy in the video haha

  19. By Scottsdale Expert on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    I was “anti-twitter” for a long time. I finally decided a few months ago to break down and get an account. FYI, I still have yet to post a tweet. I do though follow celebrities and people that interest me. Like Katie Couric and Us Magazine. So every once in a while I check the feed to see what they have to say. I like it for that reason and believe it can be useful from a business aspect. I think it is weird when “tweeters” use it as a way to communicate with a specific someone. It is like a text message that anyone can see.

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