Social Media

Twitter: an interesting experiment

I’ve now used Twitter seriously for a month or two. I’ve enjoyed chatting with friends, and experiencing an application that brings genuine enjoyment to people I like, and admire. I can also now see the utility of the tool, especially for those who don’t communicate frequently online, as it gives us a way to keep in touch and stay informed. But in the last week, I’ve grown less interested in using the application.

One reason for my growing lack of enthusiasm for Twitter is posts disappearing—a relatively frequent event that has happened to a lot of people this week. Given how taxed the application is, problems of this nature are not surprising. What is surprising, though, is how indifferent most people seemed to be about the whole thing. Perhaps I’m old fashioned but one fact I’ve learned over the years in developing applications is that the data is sacrosanct. That the loss of “tweets” is no big thing to folks tells me that a) the underlying application has problems more profound then just being able to access the service, and b) that people don’t really seem to value what they post on the service. That last one is particularly confusing: if the people don’t value what they post, then why spend so much time using the tool?

Another reason I’m thinking of using it less is that I can’t keep up with the posts. By Twitter standards, I’m practically a loner, but I find the amount of news and information to be overwhelming. Before this week, if I wanted to catch up with specific people, I would just go to their Twitter page. However, with Twitter dropping posts, I’m most likely going to miss half of what they said, anyway.

Then there’s the whole “mean” thing. I guess I’m “mean” or sarcastic with too many of my postings. The problem is, you can easily write upbeat, positive, and wonderful things within 140 characters, but the same can not be said about criticism. Not all of us have mastered the art of Twitter snark.

None of this would matter, though, if it weren’t for my lack of comfort with Twitter. I cannot get over that feeling of being the person at the party who drinks too much and says the wrong thing at the wrong time; or puts on the lamp shade and dances around wearing nothing but socks and strategically placed jello shots. Frankly, I don’t think everyone is cut out for Twitter.

Remember the scene in the movie Pretty Woman, when Edward Lewis (played by Richard Gere) takes Vivian (played by Julia Robertson) to the Opera? Just before the curtain goes up, Edward tells Vivian, People’s reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul. Well, I hated Twitter when I first saw it.

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