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Monday, August 17, 2009 

Twitter twatter.

I'm sure that I'm not the only person who's getting thoroughly sick of both the hype and churnalism surrounding Twitter, or more appropriately, Twatter. The latest is that 40% of the messages sent on it are "pointless babble". Shurely shome mishtake? Shouldn't that be 99.9%? You also know that when the government appoints a "Twatter tsar", to go with all the other inexplicable tsars it seems insistent on appointing, the other one being Arlene Phillips as a "dancing tsar", that its demise hopefully won't be that far in the future.

David Cameron, for once, wasn't too far wrong in his view that too many twits might end up making a twat. I can see the point of the likes of Facebook, despite not using it, and do have a MySpace account although again I never use it, they're just not really for me, mainly because I prefer to operate under something of a semi-anonymous shroud. Twitter though, with the exception of when it is clearly put to good use, such as when instant updates are necessary such as on breaking news, reporting on protests and organising around them, seems to be beyond pointless; it's a glorified instant messaging service where every stalker and sad sack can follow your ever so fascinating immediate thoughts on what your sandwich tastes like, what it's like being stuck in a lift, and why the NHS is brilliant. Obviously, accusations of hypocrisy can be levelled against a blogger for criticising such "micro-blogging", and some bloggers do indeed do little more than those on Twitter do, but I'd like to think for the most part I put more thought into what I write here than many do with their numerous updates throughout the day (although blogging has been deliberately lighter this month).

Then there's just the wishful thinking, such as Sunny's that Twitter challenges right-wing dominance online. This would be amusing if it wasn't so tragic. If the NHS couldn't find enough people who could relate their own experiences of its service in a supportive fashion then Daniel Hannan would be more than right in calling it a sixty-year old mistake. Those doing so are clearly apolitical; they support the NHS, not the political arguments behind it. The entire hype behind online political campaigning has got all out of proportion to its actual value and use: there has been no indication whatsoever that the success of campaigns in the US can be translated to this country. Indeed, repeated attempts by the Conservatives to do so have failed abjectly, from their "Tosser" campaign to more recent calls for donations, whatever their size, appropriating from last year's US campaigns. If the Tories, the main players online as we are forced to admit can't do it, how can anyone?

Twitter provides what the other social networking sites do: circle jerks, where like-minded people share like-minded things, all while stroking their egos. Again, I'm not going to pretend I'm also not guilty of this, but Twitter just exacerbates the problems inherent in blogging. It is essentially meaningless, not even giving extra quality to real life relationships like Facebook does. Doubtless I'm about to be flayed alive in the comments, but once again the hype and the defences of it simply fail to live up to the reality.

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The part I like about Twitter is how much spam you DON'T have to read. Sure it obeys Sturgeon's Law, but you just follow the people who tweet useful stuff and ignore the ones who don't, I don't see a problem.

I don't think it's easy to pass judgement on Twitter unless you use it. I say this only because I too eschewed it for ages, and once I started using it I was hooked. It's definitely opened my reading a lot more, and allows me to have conversations with people more easily than on blogs (as you can tweet about a range of subjects on a day).

Sounds asinine, I know. But I do a lot of news tweeting, and follow ppl who do the same. It's like facebook on drugs for politics really.

It took me a while - almost 2 years after signing up for it - to find a use for Twitter.

Twitter is a handy resource - info spreads on it v quickly and people can give short sharp views on any/all sbjects.

I agree wholeheatedly with your comment on Sunny's post. Then again, perhaps it makes it more readable if you avoid considering the other side of the argument(!)

How many times do I see this, often from people (like you) whose views I share on many things.

"I haven't tried it and I don't like it".

Twitter is a great resource, but like most other things, you need to dig to find the stuff that's of value to *you*. Please don't dismiss those of us who find it incredibly useful (as I do) as idiots.

I think you're being a bit harsh with the idiots accusation, although like any other medium, there are plenty on there but you don't have to follow them.

Twitter, looking from the outside in, is a completely different beast to when looking from the inside out.

Nobody has mentioned the #GetSepticisleOnTwitter campaign...

What Sunny said. You've got to make the jump before you can criticise it! And it would be good to see Obsolete tweeting.

I tried to start using Twitter a few months ago when I first started my blog. I was hoping to network with like-minded people, gaining some extra-exposure for my blog and hoping perhaps my connecting with other journalists would aid my search for a job. However, I've found it to be quite a fruitless experience. I don't have anyone following me, and as only an aspiring journalist, why would they?

I can see why the basic idea of Twitter is a good one - news and ideas can be relayed instantly to a world-wide audience - but I find the design and implementation a bit awkward. The rate at which tweets are posted to your homepage is so fast (and I only follow 15 people) I can't imagine having enough free time (or the inclination) to even read half of them per day.

I expect micro-blogging is indeed going to play a major part in online-media in the future, but as with everything I expect it will be copied - and improved upon. I can't see Twitter becoming the success with more casual internet users that Myspace and Facebook has.

That's a good point actually J Rooney - Twitter sucks quite badly without a 3rd party app like Tweetdeck to organise everything and deliver tweets without having to hit F5 every few minutes. I never use Twitter on the web.

Think of Twitter as nothing more than a framework to use on devices or with other apps and it makes a lot more sense.

Try it with Tweetdeck, follow a few more people, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. You too Mr. Isle!

I don't buy this argument that you have to use something which you can see operating to know whether it's useful or whether you'd like it - Twitter is hardly boxed away and exclusive like Facebook used to be. I also wasn't calling those using it idiots or twats or whatever - just that overwhelming majority of messages on it do seem to be without any merit whatsoever.

Hey, most blogging doesn't have much merit either, but doesn't stop us from doing it. I don't buy that argument. I follow the people I find interesting and leave the rest. You get what you want out of it.

You're just being a sourpuss septicisle :)

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