Thursday, January 14, 2010

Response to criticism about Twitter

A friend (acquaintance) posted recently about how much he hated Twitter. Over the last few weeks I've jotted down some thoughts and I figured I'd share.

1 - You point to Twitter as 'a problem' with our society and finger spam as a sign. Why is Twitter the problem? It is blogging on a small scale, requiring less effort and therefore cost. Blog spam is huge too, that doesn't stop blogging.

Are you advocating an alternative, or hating on the microblogging concept? If the former, what is your suggested app? Should there be a forum for people to share short one-off thoughts and opinions? If the latter (hater), then it is people that are the problem, and the fact that anyone would care to tweet about mundane crap (and that others might listen).

2 - You call the 'follower' concept a joke. This is one huge benefit to Twitter - the connected friends/followers aspect. Even though weak in some ways, this is an improvement over web pages, blogs, etc. This means the system could morph into a model where it can rank trustworthy tweets based on closeness to your peer group.

Seems powerful to me.

And this 'follower' concept benefits greatly by the fact that it freely admits that you aren't friends with everyone you follow and vice versa. Followers also come and go at will. Let's be honest, the people with a million Facebook friends aren't really friends with each one. I prefer this honest definition of relationship from many angles, especially the security standpoint.

3 - You comment on the noise/spam/pointless comments on Twitter. There does seem to be very little difference between a valid tweet and spam sometimes. Makes it tough to distinguish signal and noise. Honestly, I find the whole web like that.

I think Twitter is fascinating. Odd, but fascinating.

What I do love about twitter is how it is more of a platform than an application. Whatever the mob wants, can be created, even if the mob is made up of bots and spammers/marketers.


hedkase said...

Well you shouldn't have pointed me in the direction of a sibling rivalry waiting to happen.

Nor should you be too quick to think that technological evolution is actually a sign of progression.

I'm perfectly aware that my largest problem with twitter and the like - it's mangled, derivative subset of the English language - is hypocritical in that my own mastery of the language is superseded by a subconscious knack for obfuscating the language into primal barks and noises. And this coming from somebody who was involved (albeit non-voluntarily) in the internet revolution.

That doesn't prevent me from chastising people who are so quick to adopt new technology, just because it's new. Think of the long-term, global impacts of a world matured through WTF and OMG. Does access to information grow a more intelligent society, or just impatience? We're not even willing to read more than 140 characters without losing interest.

I just made the old man argument, and I'm younger than you. Is that symbolic of true or contrived evolution?

Đoþþelgänger said...

Twitter can be spamtastic that is for sure, however if it doesn't meet one's needs then it's not being used correctly. I love twitter as I use it as an RSS news feed substitute. Every bit of news that interests me is filtered on through just by following who I like. If I was a gardening nut (i'm not) it could conceivably be nothing but gardening news. This alone makes it a powerful, versatile and dynamic tool