OK I twitter. I don’t twitter a lot, and mostly I do it just so that my two websites (this one and www.appliedinsight.com.au) are updated with something like a dead man’s handle to prove I haven’t died in a ditch somewhere. 2, 3 twitters a day tops.
With twitter, you get 140 character posts from people you follow. Mostly from mobile phones (blackberry in my case) so it can be done immediately, any time anywhere. With twitter people follow you, and you follow people.
There has been a bit of one-upmanship as to who is a better twitterer than someone else, mostly a race to get more people to follow you.
Robert Scoble has just written a post to the effect of ‘it isn’t really about how many people follow you, it’s how many you follow’. Something about expanding the mind (I think that might be important because chicks really dig that stuff) – apparently because:
1. Youâ€™re trying to learn more.
2. Youâ€™re trying to meet more people.
3. Youâ€™re trying to be a better listener.
4. Youâ€™re communicating to the world that youâ€™d like to be listened to (golden rule: treat people how youâ€™d like to be treated).
5. Youâ€™re trying to find out about more stuff. More events. More stories.
I’m sorry. I’m busy. I follow five people on twitter, one of whom hasn’t actually ever tweeted. If I followed 756 people like Scoble does, if I tried to read those tweets, I’d be getting probably 1500 to 4000 a day. 95% of those tweets might be interesting to close personal friends but… frankly they’d be a waste of time (“oh too much pudding for lunch”, “click here for my cute cat”, “omfg did you watch Britney last night”). 5% may be significant – but it’s 140 characters, how many pearls of wisdom and “great content” can there be? If it’s great, google will find it later. If it’s about someone I want to catch up with, really, perhaps I should speak to them.
I don’t have time to keep up with 37 blogs in my feed let alone 756 tweets. They’re a total distraction when they come in, and can drive me off to random posts and destroy my productivity – why would I do that? It’s information overload and I think information illiteracy.
Sorry, I think twitter’s a great tool but let’s not make it into something it’s not. To me following a thousand people is merely sycophantically doffing your cap to people so they think you’re listening – but in reality there ain’t no way you’re ever reading a word they’re tweeting. Does that not send a message too – one more to do with poor integrity and easy distractions?
Perhaps I don’t get it. Perhaps I’m limited in my abilities because I can’t do other stuff and read 4000 tweets a day. And blogs. And then tumblelog. And vlog. And podcast. And Facebook/Flickr/LinkedIn/MySpace/Youtube. I don’t have the headspace for that much mental pavlova.
And the sad thing for me is, Scoble gets 145 comments in 3 days to a one short (and apparently misguided in my option) post on twitter… and my blog hasn’t had 145 comments ever :). So… perhaps I am wrong – but I can’t see how!