2/20/2009

Twitter ? Get a life !

I have always been someone who embraces new technology. I use the SatNav on my phone, I own more than one MP3 player (but not an iPod), I have a good AV system at home, love the internet, own more than one computer, I can network my music around my home (using ethernet cabling which is installed under the floor of my house), I have owned a Spectrum, a Commodore 64, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, NES, SNES, GameCube, DS, Wii, Xbox and Xbox 360. Oh, and I also had a first generation Gameboy. Yes, in general I'd make the point that I am tech savvy and like gadgets and gizmos.

So why do I not see the point in Twitter ?

It seems that bloggers are mad about Twitter but as far as I can tell from people's feeds on their blogs all Twitter tells me about is where they have been, what they have done, who they spoke to and, in general, I find these things about as interesting as paint drying.

I am sure there are some interesting feeds from some celebrities IF you have the time and inclination to follow them. However, I am at a loss as to why following an MP or a political blogger would be in any way interesting or worthy of my valuable time. And time is the most important aspect here.

For many years I have known Norman Lamb well. Since long before he was MP for North Norfolk I have been slightly in awe of the effort he puts in to North Norfolk and it has been a pleasure to know him. But do I want to follow him on Twitter ? Do I want to know who he has met, where he has been, which debate he engages in ? No. Why ? Because if I wanted to know I would call him or look it up on the internet. Now if I am not that interested in an interesting person in a high profile job who is a friend of mine, why should I have the time to follow someone else who does not meet any of those criteria ?

I have a life, quite a busy one, which involves my family, working, some entertainment (if I can fit this in) and generally trying to fit everything in to 17 hours a day and then get 7 hours sleep. As it is I find it hard to fit in the time to blog regularly.

The very fact that people spare the time to read my blog in the first place is something that amazes me, but at least, I hope, that because I am writing in some depth those who read this will find out more about me views and opinions as I seek to explain them. But could this happen on Twitter where you are limited to writing no more than a single sentence ? I think not.

So I simply don't get Twitter because I have enough to do in 24 hours without spending/wasting my time reading about the triviality of someone's bowel movements are who they bumped in to. For me Twitter is this year's Facebook, and whilst I can understand how the networking elements of Facebook make sense, even if Facebook itself serves no real purpose, then I fail to see how my life will be enriched or made anything other than trivial by learning about the trivialities of someone else's life.

14 comments:

Chris said...

Strangely enough, a colleague of mine in a newsroom was saying the same thing.

On a personal level, I'm not sure as to its benefits. Perhaps, in time, they'll become clear. Or maybe it will become clear that there's no benefit.

However, for journalists it can be, and has proved, useful.

Have a look at some of these links:
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=twitter+for+journalists&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

When I put my web editor cap on in the subbing pool, I have found Twitter a useful way of pinging a story off to a global audience within seconds.

For example: there is a pub outside Canterbury which recently hit the local and national headlines for advertising for customers. It also happened to have a buxom young blonde behind the bar. The Sun have offered her a contract and the landlord did a seven-minute slot on radio Alberta. When this story went live on our website, I copy/pasted his quote about the radio show into Twitter, added the (Tiny)url and began following CBC across Canada, and the main papers in Calgary and Edmonton, the two main cities in Alberta. Now, while the reporter didn't get any international commissions out of it, I, and our website, our now being followed by more Canadian and American newspaper/radio news Twitters than I followed to promote the story.

A comment from a reader of a story about the possibility of mp3 recordings of Canterbury City Council meetings, read: "I've just seen this story on Twitter..."

So, while there are areas I question, as an element of a newspaper group's social networking platform (web2.0, journalilsm2.0 - choose your buzz term!) and marketing tool (turn work in tandem with its website), it's incredibly valuable.

In short, if it drives - which it has - traffic to a paper's site, it has a function; if it's helping to generate a global awareness for a local or national paper, it has a function.

Hope this helps shine some light on Twitter.

NORFOLK COAST said...

I wouldn't be without it, I've already made dozens of useful new contacts through it.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Me neither

Twitter is for people who are interested in the minutiae of other people's lives. Hell, I'm not even interested in the minutiae of my own life.

I did Facebook for a while because my children dissapeared into it, but gave it up because it is just as naff as Twitter appears to be.

What next? Led Tattoos - where your friends can tune in and watch you picking your nose?

Nein Danke.

Terrible Tory Girl said...

Northern Blogger, I am in complete and utter agreement. Twitter is just a glorified facebook status.

I have so far resisted the urge to tell all and sundry in two minute updates that I've just back from the loo, that I've been watching a porn flick, etc.

Sorry my life's not that exciting you know ;)

Paul Hulbert said...

For me, Twitter is an easy way of sharing interesting things I've read, experiences and thoughts - and to see others' views. It's also an easy way to update my Facebook status.

Thatsnews said...

There are some who do not see how Twitter could possibly be of benefit to them. And those that use it. And do benefit from it.

Norfolk Blogger said...

If learning about the minutiae of someone's life benefits you then, as I said, it might be worth getting a life of your own ?

The Burbler said...

It's one of those things that seems strange until you actually try it.

I'll put a fiver on you twittering people endlessly next September to tell them to vote for you for some damn silly Iain Dale award ;-) just like you've done on Facebook. ;-)

Norfolk Blogger said...

Paul, i won't be twittering for one very simple reason, I have a life !

All the reasons people have given for using it so far centre around the fact that they seem not to have a life an like knowing the laundry details and habits of people are really are unimportant.

The Burbler said...

As I say, if you actually tried it you will realise that it is not about laundry details. For example, James Graham hardly ever says anything about his personal life and uses the medium for interesting links and updates in the political world.

And to suggest that people like me don't have a life because we Twitter, is just childish.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Paul, it's a bit rich to be called childish by someone who is themselves being slightly condescending by saying "if you tried it you'd know".

My point was Paul that I do not have the time, and still cannot see how getting single sentences from someone about political chit chat will make my life any more valuable or enrich it in any way.

If I wanted to know something important and worth knowing I'd get an RSS feed on my phone to the BBC website.

As it is I fail to see how James Graham's Twitter updates are going to fill a gap that is missing.

I'm sorry if that is childish but I mean what I say in the very nicest of ways and with no malice intended.

The Burbler said...

Apologies for being condescending. A hanging crime, I know. But I equally genuinely believe that, from what I know of you, that if you actually just tried it for a bit you would at least understand why very sensible people with very full lives use it. I mean, you can hardly say "Get a life" to Stephen Fry or Jonathan Ross can you? They may must have two of the most active lives of anyone in the world.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Paul, the problem for me is that I am simply not interested in what Jonathan Ross or Stephen Fry do. We will have to agree to differ on this Paul. Each to his own.

The Burbler said...

Agreed. You are at liberty not to Twitter and not to want to find out what Fry/Ross do. But they do have a life - trust me.

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