Saturday, March 28, 2009

Twitter? Bah!

It seems that these days, you hear about Twitter EVERYWHERE. Even the local evening news has a Twitter account. And now, just as Googling is now a ubiquitous verb, Twitting has pretty much invaded the English language.

I guess I've been living in the Stone Age, because up until 2 days ago, I had no freaking idea what this Twitter thing even was. My curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to look it up by Googling "Twitter", and it took me to (duh). There, my query was answered. Twitter, as it turns out, is an online social-networking utility that gives you short status updates on various users. That's it. That's what all the fuss is about. If that sounds vaguely familiar, it's because that's essentially what you get on your Facebook homepage when you log in (okay, you can get a little more on FB). Status updates of your friends. Lame.
Powered by BlackBerry


Meandering Michael said...

Yeah, I've tried it. Don't like it. Don't see what all the fuss is about.

Peter Lo said...

I don't use Twitter myself at all. But that being said, I find it curious that all the arguments against it are similar to the ones used against Facebook when it first came out.

And like Facebook, I'd argue that the value and advantages of Twitter are directly proportional to how much a person uses it.

For example, if you only joined Facebook to check it out, but don't participate in it (ie: join up with friends, comment on each other's walls, tag photos, etc), then of course you would find Facebook totally worthless.

I can see Twitter as being a useful tool for liveblogging purposes, from people live at a location using their blackberries or phones to update for others following online.

I can see it being used as a way to create an informal context for topics of conversation, where it would be difficult or awkward to do using other more formal means. In what other context can like-minded professionals communicate with each other informally without setting up complex meetings like trade shows and lectures?

Twitter is a communications medium that is different than what is normally used by most people. And there are people who have found a way to use it to their advantage.

Are there ways to abuse Twitter, or use it in ways that is lame and annoying? Of course there is. Are there ways of building and duplicating the ability that Twitter give using existing methods? Most likely. But then, you can make these arguments about any tool in the world from Facebook to the common phone.

The test for "how useful something is", isn't "how useful it is to you?". It's "is it useful to anyone at all?".