Monday, June 29, 2015

Some idle thoughts on Twitter for this Monday Morning.

I've been trying to learn to love Twitter.

I really have.

I keep seeing this station promo on the Bloomberg Channel where they show a clip of some Twitter person (couldn't tell you who) saying something to the effect of "When you learn to use Twitter, it becomes indispensable." I guess I have yet to learn how to use Twitter effectively.

I sure as hell am starting to hate using it as a reader. The number of promoted tweets is becoming unbearable. There are days when I feel like I'm getting more promoted tweets than anything worth reading from some of the folks that I actually follow. And I don't re-tweet. Re-tweeting makes me feel like I'm polluting the stream (with things that have been re-tweeted by others already).

The limited number of characters gives me very restricted information most of the time, making it difficult to decide if clicking the link to a blog post or web page will provide anything truly interesting to me. I'm willing to admit, however, that I'm just as guilty of this as those that I accuse.

In the above regards, I think most of us have figured out that Google+ does a far superior job: 1) it allows us to post in a community where we know the posts will generally be of interest to us (because they are, to some degree or another, moderated by someone in charge of making sure the group stays on topic), 2) it allows the conversation on any particular topic to be read from top to bottom (rather than having those comments interspersed with other comments on other topics), and 3) the collapsable nature of the posts makes accessing longer content quite easy.

Where Twitter seems to thrive is in regards to live events (that is, things that are happening "now"). The format is not conducive to being a "journal" format (though many users tweet leads to posts elsewhere). But if you've ever tried to follow live comments hashtagged around a specific event (e.g., any TV show finale from the last few years), you know that the tweets happen too fast to actually try to keep up with them.

So, where does that put Twitter? I think even Twitter is at a loss to answer that question. CEOs of successful companies don't "step down" without knowing where they're going. In the interim, Twitter co-founder and Square CEO Jack Dorsey will take over (starting this Wednesday).

I had planned to use Twitter more at this past NTRPGCon, but two things happened: 1) nobody seemed terribly interested in what I was tweeting about the con, and 2) I was just too busy at the con to post more than a couple of tweets. I would rather talk to the folks in front of me than ignore them so I can push text out to people in the virtual community. Is that wrong of me? Is that the inherent flaw of twitter? Is Twitter the medium for people who AREN'T there?

Ultimately, I think Twitter was a great concept with a very limited execution. The only place Twitter seems to have succeeded so far (IMO), is that it, unlike many other tech-com companies, is actually profitable. How? By selling promoted tweets, of course! So many, in fact, that I'm pretty much done as a Twitter reader, even though I still continue to post. In fact, this will be automatically tweeted shortly after I post it. You'll probably see the first 140 characters of it (minus the characters for the link to the whole thing) buried somewhere between promoted tweets.


  1. I think Twitter was a big deal 6 or 7 years ago and has simply waned since then....

  2. I use it for my real job, and have set up a twitter account for my game blog that is just designed to tweet when I publish a new post. Otherwise, I never touch it. So - yeah - I agree with you. I gave it a test drive and decided I didn't need it.