Twitter is bollocks

I’ll let you into a little secret: I’m a huge Twitter fan. I’ve been using Twitter for over two years now (excluding a month’s break to get some actual work done) and I find it is a valuable source of news, opinion and comment. However, the more I think about it, I can’t help but conclude that Twitter is bollocks.

“But how can that be?!” I hear you cry, “surely Twitter is a the archetypal example of a Kuhnian paradigm shift: exponentially changing the way humans communicate with each other forever more. Gad zooks! just look at how it is redefining collective interaction, stripping out the once hierarchical monoliths of a bygone age, and helping to rebuild in their wake the conversations of meritocratic individualism, whilst simultaneously aiding us in our quest to navigate the choppy waters of “the long-tail“. For Christsakes man! what about the democratic ideal it is helping to instigate – just look at Iran!”

Well, yes, that is all true. But Twitter is still bollocks.

And it is bollocks for 3 reasons:

1. “The Others”

In the heady day of Twitter BSF (Before Stephen Fry), it was a little known place. A place where you could forge meaningful relationships with people you didn’t know nor would ever meet. There were only a few of us in this citadel of the tweet, and we all shared something in common: we all knew about Twitter and other people didn’t. This was a place where most of the people that populated this utopian rose-tinted dream were more or less into what I was into – the internet, programming and exciting developments happening on the web. It was a great place to discover new things, read thought provoking links and smugly share the secret of “all your base are belong to us”.

But then tragedy struck.

In Gladwellian (un)certainty, the tipping point came, and “The Others” found out!

Now Twitter is awash with things I’m not very interested in. Personal life stories of people I don’t know, living in cities I’ve never heard of, discussing things I don’t care about.

These “Others” discovered that some others of them had been on the front cover of Heat magazine, so they wanted to be their friend. Now these others not only discuss these things I don’t care about, but somehow assume authority because thousands more of them think that by being their friend, some of their alleged celebrity will rub-off on them too, resulting in some kind of horrible quasi-celeb tryst that can only bring misery and suffering to those that don’t really care about such things.

Where o where are the decent tweets? Where have the interesting posts about the latest obscure javascript references gone? Alas, they are now replaced by pointlessly uninteresting debate by people that used to be on the Telly.

2. “The Experts”

Along with the influx of “The Others” came an even more horrifying phenomenon. That of the “Twitter Expert”. Now, claiming to be a “Twitter Expert” is roughly the same as claiming that you’re an expert at saying “hello”. Well done you. I wouldn’t mind them so much, except these experts don’t do anything except use Twitter to talk about Twitter. It is a sort of hideous nightmare micro-realisation of Jeff Atwood’s Meta-blogging.

And yes, I do spot the irony that I have posted on Twitter a link to a blog post that is talking about Twitter, in which I poke fun at those that post things on Twitter that talk about Twitter.

3. “The Bots”

Last, but not least are the bots! These are heavily related to “The Others” and “The Experts” in that they didn’t appear in “Twitter BSF”. The bots are a heinous invention that scrape the blackboard of Twitter with the nails of annoyance, searching for anyone that mentions anything  with one of their “catch words”. Why, only today I was talking about mobile phones, when lo and behold some bot followed me because I had mentioned “phones”. Why on earth would I want to follow them back? I do not require mobile phone news daily and neither do I want to engage in conversation with them.

Please piss off you grubby little shister.

Even more absurd is when bots get confused with spelling.
So, these three things, in my opinion, go towards helping make Twitter bollocks.

However, I don’t mind so much.

I use Twitter for a very specific purpose. I use it to follow thought-provoking people that are writing about subjects I find interesting and don’t continually flood my feed with crap. Which means there is one final thing to consider:

4. Bonus rant

If you are following 1,987 people, have 3 people following you and have provided only 1 update, please don’t bother following me as I won’t follow you, you are spam – even if you are a real person, you are spam.

  • http://www.robsearles.com Rob Searles

    OK, I take it back. Twitter is genius:
    http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23competitivegeekbaiting

  • http://stii.co.za/ Stii

    Good point there. I think you nailed almost every early Twitter user’s feelings towards Twitter these days. Too much fluff, too little sustenance. Early days, it was all vitamins. Now there is a lot of junk food, although if you do it right, you can still get nourishment. Damn, now I’m hungry again :/

    • http://www.robsearles.com Rob Searles

      Hi Stii, thanks for the comment. It is completely fluff and almost no sustenance these day. Recently I’ve been beginning to gravitate towards FriendFeed with the hope that it might have more depth.

  • http://www.robsearles.com Rob Searles

    OK, I take it back. Twitter is genius:
    http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23competiti

  • http://stii.co.za/ Stii

    Good point there. I think you nailed almost every early Twitter user's feelings towards Twitter these days. Too much fluff, too little sustenance. Early days, it was all vitamins. Now there is a lot of junk food, although if you do it right, you can still get nourishment. Damn, now I'm hungry again :/

  • http://www.robsearles.com Rob Searles

    Hi Stii, thanks for the comment. It is completely fluff and almost no sustenance these day. Recently I've been beginning to gravitate towards FriendFeed with the hope that it might have more depth.

  • Pingback: Rob Searles » RobSearles: 1 Year Old!

  • Stevenjr

    No it’s bollocks – like shouting down a drain. Do something useful with your time – give blood; donate plasma; dig a neighbour’s garden or do some repairs to their house.  This is meta-socialising, more “alone togetherness.” Connect to real people by doing real things.  ” if only you could see what I’ve seen” instead of just chirruping

  • Stevenjr

    No it's bollocks – like shouting down a drain. Do something useful with your time – give blood; donate plasma; dig a neighbour's garden or do some repairs to their house.  This is meta-socialising, more “alone togetherness.” Connect to real people by doing real things.  ” if only you could see what I've seen” instead of just chirruping