On twitter

It seems that everyone has an opinion on twitter.

You have the techies like Dave Winer who are obsessive about the concept, but frustrated by its execution. Then you have social commentary journalists who, late to party, continue to completely miss the point as they try to define what makes twitter work. Easily the most annoying of all these opinions is the bedroom-based marketing guru, who never tires of telling you how to sell shit on twitter. These turdbags are ruining twitter.

In fact, every time a marketing person joins twitter a baby chinchilla dies. I know this, because every time a marketer joins twitter, I kill a baby chinchilla. It’s not because I’m evil you see, but because they are. And every action must have, I feel, a chilling consequence.

twitter has two fundamental characteristics that make it a success: brevity and customisation.

Unlike blogging, where people never fail to use a thousand words where 50 will do, twitter forces you to keep your entries brief. Having just 140-characters at your disposal is incredibly limiting at first, but the seasoned twitterer sees beauty in all that is pithy. Soon you begin to write in short, bite-size bursts of prose and meaning.

If you were to turn this new ability on the real world, it would mean you have to spend less time explaining simple concepts to morons. And anything that decreases the time I’m exposed to morons, the better.

The customisation of twitter means that everyone’s experience of the network is different. We all follow different streams. I follow photographers, the odd jokester, a few “internet famous” tech savants, and some friends. My friends and followers all have different streams and experiences.

Customisation also means twitter can offer different core features to different users. twitter has become my instant messaging client of choice, a micro-blog, my main social network, my primary source of breaking news, and a destination for wasting the odd ten minutes.

This is why so many people just don’t get twitter. No one tells you what it’s for, because no one really knows. It either works for you or it doesn’t. This is also why articles telling you who and who not to follow, or how to use your twitter feed, are such a complete waste of everyone’s time.

This is not an article about how to use twitter. I’m just telling you – not that you are or should be the least bit interested – how and why I use twitter.

So if you’ve considering giving it a go, go for it. And if you’ve used it for a bit, but couldn’t get on with it, maybe think about it again.

And if you still don’t like it? Fine. I couldn’t give a monkey’s what you do. Laters.

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4 thoughts on “On twitter

  1. Excellent, Aaron. Exactly what I would say if I could be arsed to say it :). People who don’t get Twitter or who misunderstand it are like people who don’t get phones, word processors or cameras. It’s a technology, simple as. Use it as you will, or not, as the case may be.

  2. Thanks Mike. I think we have similar approaches to twitter, which is why we enjoy each other’s company on there. I understand the pressure to innovate at twitter, and I really hope it makes those guys a shit-load of money, but it’s soul is in its simplicity – if it loses that, I’ll move on.

  3. Spot on.I’ve tried to explain to non-blogging friends and a couple of other people about twitter when they’ve asked and one or two have have tried it, but all have ended up asking ‘what’s the point?’. But then, what’s the point in Facebook or blogging or sending txt messages? It’s just a form of communicating with others.The community that you get, the people that you follow has to come from somewhere and if you don’t already know some people to follow, like I did from blogging, then it is really hard to see the point, as it can take ages to find your ‘groove’ with it.And you have to find your own groove, otherwise it won’t work, however you use it.

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