My Beef With Twitter (Or Why Twitter Sucks)

18
Dec
2007

Twitter

I was asked a little while ago what my beef with Twitter is (by Kami Huyse of MyPRPro.com). I really couldn’t care less if other people want to waste their time on Twitter. Honestly, I hardly consider them worth the time and blog space for a rant to begin with. Twitter sucks (about as much as Facebook sucks). I’m only sharing my thoughts because of the “special request.” Let’s get to the point, shall we?

(Oh, and since we had to deal with a few illiterates on the Facebook Sucks post not long ago, let’s just make it clear that these comments are entirely in reference to using Twitter in a marketing / PR capacity – I’m sure it’s a fine little chat tool if you have nothing better to do with your time.)

1. If you’re spending time on Twitter (as in, you’re a damned Twitter addict), you’re taking time away from (probably more important) other tasks. Either that or you’re another self-obsessed twit (pun intended) who thinks the world should revolve around you or give a rat’s ass about what you’re up to. (Here’s a post I love: 7 Observed Twitter Archetypes by Will McInnes.)

2. I can see Twitter having the occasional useful purpose in business, but if you’ve been able to accomplish the same goals in the past without it (such as a mass email), why turn anything over to a service as unreliable as this? That’s just flat out stupid.

3. If people were only posting useful updates, that would be one thing. But nobody gives a damn (or at least no one important if they don’t have something better to do) what you’re doing every minute of every f*ing day. If anything, I’ve been seeing some top dogs in the tech industry looking like complete and utter morons talking about stupid sh*t like what they’re having for lunch. It’s hard to respect someone who doesn’t have something intelligent to say, or who acts far too much (far too publicly) like any average Joe off the street. You don’t build authority in your field by acting like everyone else. There’s just far too much noise.

4. The blogging community started out the same way – people posting too much stupid BS that nobody gives a damn about. Eventually people wised up (at least a good portion did), and we started seeing far fewer stupid posts on otherwise useful blogs. I have no doubt we’ll see the same thing with Twitter. I just wish I could stop hearing about them in the meantime.

5. Twittering is so simple to do that people give far too much personal information. It’s easy to forget about privacy concerns, but frankly plenty of folks are sharing information that they shouldn’t be (and that may be an issue for their friends, family, bosses, or colleagues).

I could go on, but like I said, I hardly consider Twitter worth the time. To sum it up… Twitter is a fad. It’ll last only until a “cooler” time-waster comes along (and they always come along in this Web 2.0 world).

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14 Comments

  • Twitter’s usefulness depends entirely on how you choose to use it. Several of us PR educators, led by Elizabeth Albrycht, are using it to form a loose consortium of people teaching public relations spring semester. We’re going to have students from France, the UK, Canada, the U.S. and maybe Australia interacting through social media. Sorry, but I can’t think that was a waste of time.

  • And as I already said, “I can see Twitter having the occasional useful purpose in business.” The problem is that you come nowhere close to representing the majority of Twitter users.

  • That may be true, but you can choose to follow only the useful and interesting ones!

  • Even if you really want to dig through all of the noise, it’s something you can already do with blogs and private networking groups, as opposed to using a system as unstable as Twitter with their repeated downtime. Trusting them with anything absolutely necessary just doesn’t make a lot of sense. And why should people dig through hoards of crap to find something useful anyway? To top it off, even a lot of the “useful” posts come buried in piles of crap tweets (even top experts are guilty of it).

  • Jenn,
    Just dropping by to say thanks for the linkage. I’d post a lengthy comment but we’re already in complete agreement. :)

    Dave

  • Jeff says:

    Amen. Twitter is the most worthless “service” that only plays into our ever-growing narcissistic, self-absorbed culture. We don’t care what you are doing now.

  • Mike Keliher says:

    Have you tried using it for more than an afternoon, or do you just think you understand it?

    One point I’ll make, regarding your #2 above: I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to gather up the e-mail addresses of people around the world who are smart when it comes to PR or marketing and use that mass e-mail list to get some insight on X or Y. But that sort of thing is part of why Twitter exists. Easy bar of entry for starting to get a feel for who a person is and what he/she has to offer.

    Among the useless messages about who’s eating where for dinner, I learn a lot from the people I interact with on Twitter. And I’ve “met” and interacted with people I never would have came into contact with because Twitter encourages such discovery.

    And it’s fun. In fact, I’d venture to guess that many people use Twitter for personal, “just want to see what it’s like” reasons and only then discover the potential for professional value.

    It’s called being open-minded.

  • Yes, I’ve used it for more than an afternoon. I even plan to continue using it in relation to a fictional / creative writing project in the future. That doesn’t mean I like it. It’s more of a mockery of that culture.

    And, um, if I weren’t open-minded, I wouldn’t have taken the time to consider it and form my opinion about it in the first place, nonetheless concede in my second point above that it may have the occasional useful business purpose.

  • Jennifer,

    Your rant was music to my ears! I’ve had several friends & strangers adamantly tell me that Twitter is the greatest invention ever and that 6 months from now I’ll regret not having listened to them.

    Really?

    Even though I build software for a living and am at the leading edge of several technologies, I abhor endless text messaging from cel phones and Blackberries and IM’ing from laptop & desktop computers. I don’t think Facebook is the 2nd Coming of Christ and simply view it as a mindless distraction; FYI I got bored with it after 2 weeks.

    Twitter seems to be the next logical technology down the road to self-absorbed ADHD-laden sheep who think that “deep thought” constitutes a 20-second soundbite on the news.

    Watching the new HBO mini-series on John Adams, I’m [pleasantly] reminded that people used to actually take the time to engage in a real conversation, during which there was deep thought and consideration. I miss those times.

    Twitter is a mediocre method of communication perfect for the mediocre culture in which we now all reside.


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