Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So ... Twitter?

I've always been a web forum/community person for as long as I can remember but it took me years to see the 'value' of blogs and I was only really converted to the power of Facebook by work requirements. However, I am pretty convinced that the current love affair with social networking will bear some fundamentally long-lasting fruit. Its here to stay.

I am not, however, seeing the purpose of Twitter. Or at least, its value isn't immediately apparent to me. As far as I can gather, it is supposed to be 'microblogging' (which I would cynically tag as 'blogging for the txt gnrtn') - reducing your blog output to 140 character bursts. It seems to be a little more open than Facebook, more akin to Livejournal, in that you don't have to have specific permission from someone to see their stuff. You can just 'follow' their twitterings - or 'tweets' as I am lead to believe they are called.

My problem is maybe a degree of redundancy? The niche that Twitter fills seems to already be filled by Facebook Status updates surely? In my brief experimentation, I have even found people who have posted the same message to both services. That seems to take what should be a spontaneous expression of self and turn it into quite a clinical distribution of information. I'm also a touch sceptical about the nature of 'microblogging' as well. I'm all for brevity but sometimes an idea has to be expanded upon in order to give it the substance it needs to be understood. The internet is already a hive of misunderstanding and misreading. I cannot see this sort of statement-service helping!

I think there is also an issue on the exhibitionism-voyuerism spectrum. Facebook is a service I find quite voyeuristic. I can look through album upon album of people's photos and as long as they are part of my network of friends, their wall-to-wall conversations are open to me as well. I can sit, relatively anonymously, and observe their little online life. Blogging is, in my opinion, quite exhibitionist. Its a public, expanded, statement of a view. Not really a diary service, its more a form of self-publishing. I wouldn't go as far as to say a memoir, but you know what I mean. Twitter seems to live with a foot uncomfortably in both camps. Due to the fundamental lack of content in the feed, the exhibitionist side really does live in that pointless 'posting to post' style of information. Minor little lifestyle updates with no context. However, the ability to follow someone without permission means that you can sit and watch this constant stream of digital drivel.

However, my experimentation will continue. I'll report back if I find some value in it.


Fandomlife said...

Yes, the twitter issue.

I'm the same as you at the moment, but I'm open to change.

Anonymous said...


I already use RSS feeds from the BBC website & Robert Pestons blog, the News site etc.

Isn't this basically the same thing? But apart from useful information, I get news about someone scratching their nose?

For me, if you already have a blog as a way of expressing yourself, and already use Facebook regularly and change your "mood" Twitter seems rather redundant.

Twitter would seem to be a good way of expressing yourself if you don't have either of those things already though.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and btw, why can't I RSS your Blog?


Vodkashok said...

Because it hates you with the passion of a burning sun and it is embarassed to be associated with a public drunk... *hehehe*

I'm still not finding any great value out of Twitter. It seems like I am striving to think of things to put on it, which seems rather pointless.

Vodkashok said...

And more constructively stick this URL into your RSS feed


That works


Vodkashok said...

Still not seeing the use or the attraction.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's now 5/3/09 and your last twitter update was 26/2/09 so I'm taking it either you've been comotose the last week, or instead you've given up on telling the world that you've scratched your ass & picked your nose today.


Vodkashok said...

Yeah, its pretty much a redundant technology for my needs. It strikes me as either something that you are comfortable with and feel is part of your culture (I'm a little more private and a little less inclined to air my laundry online) or an extremely obvious case of 'look at me!' syndrome. So no, no good for me, but good for other people.

Vodkashok said...

And in a wonderful case of social networking tool imitating blog, Facebook have changed their interface to make it a glorified version of Twitter...*sigh&