April 28, 2009

Since Oprah started tweeting and Ashton got his 1 million followers, there’s been a bit of backlash about Twitter. And with the celebrities talking it up, the masses have started flocking. More people means more opinions means more criticism. Suddenly, Twitter’s gone from the newest golden child of Web 2.0 to the destruction of civilization as we know it.

It’s a bit odd to me that people, who would normally have no interest in this kind of service, suddenly feel the need to join just because their favorite celebrity did. And they wonder why they don’t like it. Big surprise. Just because everyone can figure out how to use a technology doesn’t mean they should. If you feel like jumping on the bandwagon, give it a try; if it’s not your thing, move on. Ever try to start a blog when you’re not inclined to write? It’s hard. That’s why there’s so much blog death.

The last couple articles I’ve read have been defending Twitter, despite how stupid it seems. The expectation that everyone’s microblogging will somehow be smart, witty, relevant, etc. is absurd. Using Twitter doesn’t make you Oprah. Most people are going to have the same, relatively boring thoughts they normally do, and the people who care are the same people who normally do (i.e. mostly nobody). The difference is the potential audience. Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG wrote a piece in defense of Twitter. He makes the excellent point that if you write notes in a diary or spiral notebook or – if you’re really hip – a moleskin, it’s the same thing as Twitter. Except no one will read it, so no one will judge you – in fact, they probably will think you’re an intellectual. I prefer the online method. I’m usually at a computer; I rarely have a notebook. I also like having followers – makes me feel more important than I am.


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