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Why Twitter?

Everyone loves Twitter! Well, actually, only about 6 million people love Twitter, and most of them (from what I can tell) are journalists working on trend stories about how everyone loves Twitter. Since every media outlet in the world appears intent on assaulting me with Twitter stories, I’m finally inspired to ask, What Is The Big Deal?

I know I sound like an old man, or worse, a Luddite with a blog. But I really don’t get it. So I type 140 characters about what I’m doing! And people can read that, then type back 140 characters about what they’re doing!

And this is… fun?

Or is it supposed to be useful? People say Twitter is the future of journalism, which, you know, God help us all. Although I guess most stories are probably only worth no more than 140 characters. “PLANE CRASHES ON HOUSE, 50 DEAD.” That pretty much sums it up.

But do I need this? Do I need to know instantly, I mean now, that a plane just crashed on a house? Some things I do need to know instantly, for example, maybe something like, “PLANE CRASHING ON YOUR HOUSE RIGHT NOW,” but I doubt there’s a Twitter feed for that.

I guess I just can’t figure out what Twitter does that RSS feeds, away messages, instant messages, text messages, blogs, and e-mail don’t already do. Mass subscriber text message service? Is that a business model?

My gut (which admittedly doesn’t know much about social networks) tells me that the venture capitalists who are right now in the process of raising a quarter of a billion dollars in funding for this company – which, remember, has no revenue and only 6 million users – are going to be really, really sorry.

In all seriousness, however, I would be interested to know if any of you think Twitter is worth the trouble, and why.


  1. Will wrote:

    Like Twitter, but definitely use it more for following than for putting up my own tweets. I imagine that probably has to do more with the circles I run with and the things that interest me than anything. As far as your 3rd paragraph from the end goes, you’re right, it doesn’t do anything those can’t do, but it fits a different niche. People post links and quips to Twitter that I often find interesting or entertaining, but virtually none of them are things I would like filling up my inbox, and many of them come from people whose IM or phone number don’t I have.

    I’m not somebody who reads articles about Twitter, so I don’t know whether it’s worth the capital or whether it will catch on or what, but I enjoy it for my purposes.

    Friday, February 13, 2009 at 16:55 | Permalink
  2. dave wrote:

    Good call on journalists loving to talk about Twitter.
    Most approach it by presenting themselves as a little out of step with technology, but impressed by it nevertheless.

    Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 04:06 | Permalink

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