Does e-mail not work well enough? You can send text, photos, video — anything really, as an attachment. You can mail multiple people, some even silently so as to not alert other people to their peeping. I’m quite fond of e-mail. It works great. But apparently we’re all looking for more ways – and thus more complicated – means of communication. Maybe this is my first “back in my day” speech of my young age, but seriously.
First there was e-mail. Then we were all instant messaging. Now we’re text messaging from our phones (which is just IMing with a smaller keyboard), and next it will be Twittering. I read about Twitter a while ago in one of my regular nerd blogs. Then again today I read an article from an established blogger talking about Twitter and the others (Pownce, to name one), and how it is really just information garbage – “casual information” as he calls it. It’s comparable to standing in a room with millions of people you don’t know. Eavesdropping on the universe. Most of the time it’s crap but if you’re watching carefully enough you just might see something valuable, like “party @ Bob’s 2nite @ 8p” – Bob might get a few more guests than he expected.
Actual Twitter tweet:
“Putting away dinner for leftovers later…maybe Friday? I love red beans and rice!”
I’ll being saying “Twitter” since I believe they were the first to kick of this whole craze, but in this case it means any service that does Twitter-like things. I compare Twittering to life blogging. And I’m not talking life events and experiences like I write about here at the Toast. No, I’m talking about life blogging…things like “I’m sitting on the couch” type blogging. Literal life blogging. Twitter is not a blog in the terms of web page or site. Twitter can be understood more as a giant bulletin board where people can post their stupid thoughts for everyone – and I mean everyone – to see. This includes friends, family, and the general public. But nothing is permanent or searchable like a regular site, it’s not supposed to be.
I attribute Twittering’s new found rage because it has a low entry barrier. Twitter can be done from any type of device; computer, PDA, phone, iphone, whatever so long as it is on-line. The messages, called twitters, are very small messages maybe only 100 characters at most. Frankly, that’s not a lot of room so it forces you to be brief. But why bother in the first place? Do you just need another outlet where you can bitch? Or are you searching for something…or someone?
Actual Twitter tweet:
“Kitchen is officiall “clean” now. Very Excited. Need lots of sleep now.”
Blogs are typically themed and let people come and read (hopefully) well-written and thought out entries. A blogger is usually after a specific type of audience. Not a demographic but people of certain tastes, such as liking the same sports team or liking movies. When you write for a blog you’re trying to get “your people” to read what you have to say. You don’t always succeed but that’s the goal. But with twittering, how does telling everyone “you’re eating dinner” make you attract a narrow set of people? We all eat dinner, so why would that make me want to communicate back? So I can tweet back, “i’m eating dinner too?”
I see Twittering as two things: 1) a marketing tool, 2) a soap opera
I’m already considering using Twitter-type communications to promote web sites and on-line features. It’s low cost, low overhead, and just outright doesn’t hurt. Nothing ventured even if nothing gained.
Second, if you just sit and watch the twitter stream for a while you can get hooked eavesdropping. This held my fascination for few minutes until I lost track of the person I was watching. Unfortunately, there are so many tweets coming and going your chances of seeing a continued conversation/thought are slim. You’d have to be paying attention for a while to see Bob tweet “eating dinner” and then a few minutes later see his tweet of “now on the can.”
The one thing that fascinates me most about the twittering concept is that people are willing to go out of their way to tweet something. They are conditioning themselves to tweet before every minor (or major) event in their life. At no time would I want to have my phone attached to me 24-hours a day and then think, “oh yeah, I’m going to the fridge, I better tweet it!” and then proceed to text out that tweet and send it. The time I spent twittering I could have done whatever mundane task I was doing. We all have boring lives 80% of the time, there’s no need to confirm that with others.
Why add more pieces to your puzzle? What do you gain?
Actual Twitter tweet:
“Just got done playing game”
Sure, you can argue a blog like this is the same thing. Who cares about it? But I pick and choose what I blog about, I don’t blindly write about everything I’m doing, every TV show I watch, or every time I mow the lawn. Topics make a blog.
Do we all really need another means of communication? Now I’m expected to check e-mail, IM, and Twitter? And I get squawked at when I fail to check MySpace too. Plus cell phone messages. There, that’s five modes of communication. Can’t we please pick one. They all work and do the same thing.
If you want to communicate with your circle of friends, e-mail them. Or start a message board somewhere…something basic, easy, and most of all, just pick one, agree on it, and use it. Don’t choose something new and make everyone learn something new, especially if you don’t give up the old method. No one is going to adopt new methods when their old methods are still around – why go to the food bowl in the other room when I have a food bowl in this room? You have to eliminate things for new things to get adopted. Sometimes it happens naturally, but only when it’s really cool and really worth it, and that is rare.