Monday, May 3, 2010

Honestly, what is Twitter good for?

It's not a rhetorical question. I'm really trying to figure it out, because apparently I'm one of the few holdouts who has yet to embrace the notion of interacting with the world in 140-character messages. I'm trying to understand it, I really am. I've even tried reading a few on the Twitter website, and thus far any form of understanding of or appreciation for the format has escaped me.

Am I missing something? I realize I'm something of a misanthrope, but damn, I'm not a coot and I keep hearing about how social media is so good for networking and how it's an invaluable business tool.

So I tried Facebook, and all I ended up with was family and a bunch of people I assume I went to high school with. I say assume because I don't know who the hell most of them are, and now every time I log on I'm treated to a daily stream of the banal musings of total strangers. If I wanted that, I'd read blogs (cue punchline drumbeat...)

 I tried "friending" a few industry people, only ones I sort of knew, but it just feels so craven to have to ask to be someone's "friend." And then what does that mean? How does it help you? Who knows?

So then we come to Twitter. Like Facebook, everyone's doing it. But why? I'm considering giving it a try, but I have to admit that going in it seems like just another needless and ultimately pointless techno-distraction. And I've got enough of those already.

So if any reader(s) use Twitter, please, give me your thoughts...why should I (or why I shouldn't) tweet?


  1. I've found it to be useful for sharing links to interesting stories that don't rise to the level of being worth blogging about.

    I'm not a fan of having conversations on Twitter, because I don't like watching one side of other people's conversations.

    I suppose it can help drive traffic to your blog, but it's certainly not one of my leading sources of traffic.

    And I don't know how much my comments here are worth, because I'm an apathetic social networker - I can go days without tweeting or posting a Facebook update and not feel the least bit cheated of any life experience.

  2. I'm not a Tweeter. I have found Facebook to be great with regards to making connections with other people within my breed. It has been invaluable there. I'm in the same boat as you with regards to Twitter though. I don't feel the need and I don't get the hype. It seems to be just the Facebook status updates. I can get those on Facebook, so why Twitter?

  3. Facebook - home of the time waster
    Twitter - home of the self absorbed

    Blogging - blowing smoke up your own arse and being thanked for it

    Ah! Gotta love blogging

  4. All great comments. I refuse to do the Facebook thing -- I've spent 20 years trying to shake Neanderthals from high school, and I'm not about to re-establish contact with them now.

    As for Twitter... I do find that it's useful for getting news headlines and learning about happy hour specials here and there, but that's about it. I don't think I've ever tweeted.

    My life is boring enough without publicly proclaiming it!

  5. I've tried both Facebook and Twitter, and I think I'm a coot... a 35-year-old coot.

    Twitter is like learning a new language, and I've also learned that too few people take the Twain adage to heart when twitting ("I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn't have the time").

    It works for some, I suppose. Not for me.

  6. I like Facebook. Never understood twitter. I do think its a time waster. But easier to contact people.

  7. Thanks for the comments, all. I'm still undecided and trying to figure out how, exactly, I'd use it if I did.

    I'm thinking I might just sign up and start by following a few. I do think it's a great format for the short, pithy stuff like "Shit My Dad Says" which, even though I suspect it may be a bit contrived, is still pretty damn funny...

  8. I'm hopelessly anachronostic, I actually prefer the prosody that accompanies face to face contact; it generates meaningful communication.

    Bravo Suburban Bushwhacker

  9. I like Twitter because it allows me to spread the word about the little discoveries I make than won't necessarily make it into the blog. Sometimes it's only worth 140 characters, not 500 words or more.

    Twitter does generate a fair bit of traffic for the blog, and I have subsequently met a bunch of people I first "met" on Twitter who turned out to be good people.

    Finally, in recent days I have heard about major news events faster on Twitter than in the mainstream media. Weird, but true.