Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top 10 Reasons why Twitter is Unsustainable

What up Twitheads!

I remember when Twitter first came out and I was thinking, "What, another social networking site. Pass." When I started working in Marketing it was a bit harder to avoid - you need to have a twitter presence if for nothing else than to say you have one. Asking friends about if they were on it, they just laughed and pointed out the fad nature of the site. (interestingly enough these were the same people who told me to get off Myspace and join Facebook). And considered, at the time it wasn't much more than a tool for Ashton Kutcher to tell his fans every time he goes out to Starbucks.

But has Twitter evolved? Or is it just a fad that wont die. Two years after first signing up, I actually use it consistently, but for not much more than to announce my blog or some TNOR-related quip. And I actually enjoy what some people do say... mostly others with blogs I'm interested in, or someone tweeting breaking news in the two seconds I don't have my Yahoo window open.

The problem is, there's just too much of it. That one thing I want to read is trapped and obscured by the rest of the crap out there. The casual Tweeter, like that indie band that announces last-second shows or that politician who commented on his progress in congress, is going to get his announcement lost in the glut of bullshit.

There is just too much going on in Twitter, and it is going to collapse under it's own weight. Here are the big problems:

- Too Many People...
Everyone has the right to speak their mind, but there are thousands of people for each topic of discussion, all equally accessible. So follow them all... and get swamped with thousands of tweets. Or don't follow them and miss something. The "suggested follows" option makes overfollowing especially tempting and easy.
- with too much to say
Seriously, every action or observation you make doesn't need to be discussed. Every website you like doesn't need to be promoed. You don't have to tweet an item from your massive sales catalog every minute on the minute. If you're so important that we need to know what you're doing every five minutes from 8am to 2am then you might wanna reevaluate how you use your time
- Who are you?
Some tweeters have an identity. But please stick with it. If you're repping a business-related page, I really don't care what you had for breakfast. If it was on sale, maybe, but seriously, keep your private life out of your theme-related blog. Or create another one for personal info so I don't have to follow it.
- ...Or nothing to say at all
like people who post nothing but links. not talking about those who have outside blogs they refer to or comment about something specific, but people who do nothing more than post whatever youtube video/news story/blog/porn site/money making scheme they're reading on the internet. Seriously if you can't come up with your own content, you're clogging my timeline. Especially when a million others are going to send me the same link (probably each encoded in their own web-shortened address).
- Retweets
In my opinion, the dumbest thing Twitter has done. I may like the thing I get from you the first time, but does my timeline really need to be cluttered with everybody else reposting it? Retweeting makes this too easy. I followed you because I want to know what you say, not someone else. If its so important, just copy and paste it... Why can't I shut these off!!!
- Promo Tweet Spam (ie Trains)
Goes without saying. No shame in marketing yourself, but wow my timeline gets cluttered with these. I mean I do promos and shoutouts at times but I keep it controlled... some people post 10 "please follow me"s in the time between two other followers tweet.
- Speedy access to the internet
Why go to your computer and think about what you're going to say when you can tweet anything on your mind on the go using your cell phone... Foursquare, you're public enemy number one. The only thing these apps are good for is knowing when your friends aren't home so you can throw a party in their apartment.

Not all problems are 'too much info' related... what we can say is limited. Other sites like Wave (but not Wave since no one uses it) will take over because they increase our power of communication

- No two way conversation
This key element is what Twitter is lacking as a form of communication. Message board conversations should be moved offline (ie onto your blog site) but you can't respond to anyone's tweet. Ok, you can do one of those silly @ things but they have no clue what you are referring to (especially if they're the aforementioned idiot who posts something every ten seconds). You should be able to send a single response to the tweeter. Just so sustain conversation. Making it a truly social network.
- character limits
Twitter isn't a place to run your mouth off, but sometimes 140 characters is too small. It's not even a text message. So you gotta post it in two tweets. Which then show up backwards. And get interupted by someone promoting themselves. Give us a few more letters and give us the option after 140...

So good luck Twitter. Try not to get so big that you're no fun to play with.


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