Outstreched arm

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Twitter is a harsh mistress

Oh, Twitter. How easy you are to both love and hate.

Has there been a more polarizing application/service/webthingy lately? You love its simplicity or you hate its pointlessness. You appreciate its brevity or you laugh at its minuteness. I tend to swing between the two, or sometimes - honestly, sometimes - I find myself just sitting there, contemplating how I feel about Twitter.

It's like those memorable ads which some say are insanely viral and entertaining, and others put down because they don't sell the freakin' product. Or do they, in some roundabout way? Who knows! That's how Twitter feels inside my head: it's a cute, bouncy ball of goodness which I sit across and ask, why? What are you for? And even when the answer is the zen cliche nothing, the fact is still that I sit there and ask the question. Twitter wins virally, but is that virally like ebola or virally like Dick In A Box?

I really like using Twitter and its sidekick, Twitterrific. It's fast and it feels fun for that half a second of typing, but then what? Here's the one thing I know I dislike about Twitter right now: there's no payoff. No satisfaction, no gratification. No comments, views, or any type of feedback. I send off short little bits of wit and rant as they come to me during the day, and they just disappear into the bureaucratic-like file that is my Twitter. I don't read them, but neither does anyone else, it seems. I have no friends on Twitter. If I did, perhaps the idea of Twitter as "social IM" would make more sense. But no one I've shown it to has wanted to use it. They ask that question again - why? Why would I want to use it?

So with no one to read and then tweet back (tweetback? is that a word yet?) what do I do? Send links to my tweets to friends? But then I might as well IM or email the tweet sentence itself - they're so short. It's not at all like blogging where I might put together a longer piece which it's useful to just link to for my friends. Sometimes those even get found by googling strangers. No such luck with tweets.

For me, though, the question is not why should I use Twitter? Too late for that - now its, why DO I use it?

I just don't know.


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