I’m so over Twitter. I haven’t wanted to admit it to myself, but a couple of things really tipped the scales for me. The first was this Newsweek article from 1995, which famously called the Internet a passing fad. The fear of being the guy (or gal) is a big part of what drives the technology hype-machine. Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt. I feel like it’s time to be brave enough to say what I really think.
Second, this simple Dave Armano diagram really spoke to me. As an Internet marketer, my stock-in-trade is all about what’s next. But sometimes even something really cool gets old. In fact, pretty much everything that’s really cool eventually gets old – sigh. We’ve all been the either the last person on a trend (Second Life) or the first person off (WoW).
Most embarrassing of all, we just implemented a cross-posting
functionality that will push new ThreeMinds blog entries titles to Organic’s
Twitter account, although in fairness, we experiment with a lot of new technologies here trying to see what sticks.
Why did I sign up again? Who am I following, and why? I think my attitude can best summed up by this haiku:
Got a text message!
Oh wait, it’s just Twitter spam.
You’re stalking yourself.
But seriously. Here are three reasons that I am over Twitter:
Most people are not that interesting.
There, I said it. Overall, the culture of self-promotion embedded in most social media applications bothers me. I know that listening to “life between blogs post and emails” is supposed to bring me closer to my Twitter friends, but I don’t want to hear about their minutiae any more than I want to report on my own. The time you spend away from people is what allows you to be interesting to each other again.
Twitter takes bite-sized content about three bites too far.
Have you ever read the transcript of a Twitter conversation? It’s like reading the notes that get passed back and forth in class. If blogs are bite-sized versions of newspaper-length articles, tweets are one-liners. And as Gertrude Stein quipped, “literature is not remarks”. I like to get the benefit of people’s reasoned opinions, not their spontaneous outbursts.
Twitter feels distancing even as it connects me to others.
I think the main positive benefit of Twitter – promoting weak social bonds between loosely connected groups- actually allows people to maintain their space and reduces real intimacy. In this great article about the parallels between behaviors like friending and more ancient forms of oral communication, cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch notes that there’s a “fundamental distance” to social networks. “That distance makes it safe for people to connect through weak ties where they can have the appearance of a connection because it’s safe.”
With Twitter, each of us shouts into the void to the community at large, rather than taking the risk of speaking directly to one another. Tweets, if you can consider them personal communications at all, are a declaration of existence rather than an invitation to engage in a conversation.
I’d love to hear why you agree, or how I’ve got it all wrong.