You’ve got your bullies. Divas. A whole “in” crowd of people who talk to each other, but don’t actually listen to what’s going on around them. Sorry folks, but once around the high school block is enough for me.
I think that’s my biggest criticism of the Twitter phenomenon. It’s like this elaborate Ponzi scheme built around the fraudulent notion that if you say something “interesting” that people will “tweet” back and thus, you add followers who will project your sage wisdom and insight to the world. But I call B.S.
Twitter’s value to the individual correlates directly to:
1. Power of your brand: If your brand is already hot, people are already talking about you anyway. So Twitter gives you plenty of opportunities to extend that power into an entirely new venue. So it makes sense that its biggest evangelists are people who already have huge followings.
2. Your intrinsic ability to self-promote: If you can handle being annoying and don’t mind spamming people with lots of information, even if it only applies to a small few, you’ll do great at Twitter. It’s truly an exercise of sifting through lots of junk mail to find the one coupon that applies to your situation. It’s lame, but it works for a lot of people.
3. Time wasting is proxy for work: Twitterphiles say that it’s not time wasting. That it’s just part of the job. But it’s not. You legitimately take time from what you’re doing — your real job, driving, a conversation with friends — to post something on Twitter. But since it takes seconds and it’s done on the fly, it’s far easier to say that it’s not that big a deal. It’s not until you get ensnared in hour long conversations about things with people there. Also, it’s not all work. There’s a lot of play and superfluous commentary going on.
The more derisive comments I’ve heard about Twitter usually revolve around Gen Y’s narcissism and belief that people truly care about what they’re doing all of the time. But those folks just don’t get it.
One of the things that’s great about Twitter is the feedback you can get from people at the drop of a hat. I enjoy being able to put an idea out there and test it from legions of folks of whom, you don’t know personally in many cases, but have relationships with professionally — or in my case, through this blog and little else.
But it’s not all that earthshattering, really. It’s just a different medium.
I can get the same sort of feedback and input (well, better actually) from one of the online communities I’ve been a member of for almost 10 years now. Twitter offers people who don’t have that sort of history on the web, the opportunity to cultivate conversations with people they meet in other places online.
While I’m sure there are folks who contend that organic, natural relationships and conversations generate from Twitter. Yet, I’m convinced that the time that you’d need to invest to get them would be better spent on other things. Open networking on Twitter is just a disasterous waste of time, generates noise that distracts you from the people you actually want to hear from and devalues it as a potential service.
We’re doing this social networking thing all wrong. Until we get away from what I call the “trading card friends phenomenon,” we’ll all be spinning in our office chairs and say we’re moving forward and making progress. While there are lots of different ways to make connections, the correlation between “more eyeballs” and “valuable ones” is a distinction that more social networking sites need to make.
Closed networks are influential. The real money will be delivery of a product that allows influencers to disseminate valuable information to people who want it and can cut through the noise. We’re developing too many products that don’t serve part and parcel of the general population any use at all.
Sure, it’s nice for me to have a Facebook account where my mish-mash of high school, college, military, work and camp and online friends can assemble and be easier for me to manage. But the layers and complexities are friendships could be loosely called “The Long Tail of Friendship“
Just having them together for a narrow, specific purpose would get it value. When you start adding applications, games and spammers to the mix, you’re just asking for trouble.
You’d think these people would’ve learned from America Online. AOL in the mid 1990s was successful because it was the biggest dog on the block. It was a content network with the most folks, offering the most services and where people would literally assemble because they didn’t want to lose their online relationships.
Those of us who used it for very specific purposes,valued it because our existing relationships on the network were more valuable than going on the web and trying to create the same infrastructure. (But maybe it’s just the projects I was involved in at the time that make me unique.)
But the trick is, we all paid for that right.
Twitter, Facebook and their ilk are all going to die and the future will be, someone who figures out how to create something that can be monetized because it actually has value.
Novel concept, I know.