I realise I said this about Facebook not more than 2 years ago, and Myspace not long before that, but I am not signing up for Twitter.
Twitter is like… stripping everything that’s good out of a blog, and increasing the frequency by a factor of 100.
Think about it: the most basic, most boring blogs are the ones where someone talks about their day. “Today I did this, then that, etc…” Unless what you did today was exceptionally out of the norm, most people are just going to skim them over then leave until you post something better. I know that most blogs start this way, and that’s OK for awhile, but if they don’t mature past that, they inevitably grow stale really fast. Its observational, thoughtful or humorous posts that catch people’s interest. All of those generally require some context. Before you can deliver the punch line, you have to explain the situation, or the events leading up to it, or at least offer some background on the item of discussion. Even if your daily activities were unusually interesting, you still need to give your reader some context, or some reason to empathize with you.
“Heading to work!” or “I’m pooping now” just isn’t worth reading.
Twitter is just hundreds of tiny blog posts, free of context, about what you’re doing. I know bloggers (myself being one of them) tend toward a little bit of narcissism, but do that many people really think their lives are so interesting that someone’s going to want to know what they’re doing throughout the day?
Facebook status updates are a decent application of this “micro-blog” concept. Most people update them no more than once or twice a day — and you could argue that these little updates might be good conversation starters (although I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been a party to a conversation starting that way.) Twitter, on the other hand, encourages you to update at ridiculous intervals. Now maybe I lead a boring existence, but who’s life is really that fascinating?!
The ability to aggregate status updates from multiple sources presents an interesting use-case, that may yet have some business function — I can imagine dozens of plant-floor devices, for example, “tweeting” their status to a dashboard that a manager can view at a glance. But for individuals who, lets face it, have a fairly limited repertoire of regular activities, what return-on-investment am I going to get for my time by following you on Twitter? Unless I’m stalking you… none I can think of.
So I’ll say it again, and maybe this time it’ll end up being true: I am not signing up, and no, I won’t “follow you.”
If you need to vent about your day, or record it for the world to see; if you have interesting thoughts… put these things together in paragraph form and at least provide the enjoyment of a little prose with your report! The occasional picture helps too!