Social Question

rawrgrr's avatar

Do you understand this obsession with Twitter?

Asked by rawrgrr (1555 points ) October 5th, 2009

Everybody these days are talking about Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. I don’t get it. I don’t know why there is such an obsession with this service. Now people are saying Twitter destroys Facebook? (Even though they serve pretty much completely different purposes)

Am I missing something? Why does everyone love it soo much?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

60 Answers

Dog's avatar

Twitter is fast and to the point. No stupid contests or posts like “Look! I am a lemon! See what kind of fruit you are!”

I use it for client communication and to announce new work. I have sold work through twitter.

By the way it all depends on who you follow. Never follow anyone who tells you what they are eating or asks twitter followers if they look fat.

eponymoushipster's avatar

I don’t understand how half your tags are in any way connected to Twitter.

If you don’t like it, don’t use it. Seriously, this is like the 50th “Why is Twitter popular?” question.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

I’m not sure why either. I think it’s because people think people REALLY and ACTUALLY want to know what the significant one is doing. Lololol I have one and I love it (:

RedPowerLady's avatar

I don’t get twitter. I love facebook but never found twitter enjoyable. And personally, however cliche, I really don’t need minute-by-minute updates of everyone I know. Is there more to it than that? I suppose I could see using it to promote.

J0E's avatar

@eponymoushipster I’m sorry but that was the worst attitude back in the “wis.dm days” and it’s the worst attitude still today.

rawrgrr's avatar

Is Twitter something that I will need lots of friends on to enjoy? Right now lots of my friends are Facebook addicts. I’ve tried to force myself to see what al the fuss is about but I don’t really like it. Since it’s mostly a people powered service, I’m guessing it’s something lots of my friends need to be on?

By the way thanks for the responses.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I don’t even understand the purpose of Twitter. I signed up and got bored of it within 3.5 minutes.

Facade's avatar

Because people enjoy mindless entertainment.

Allie's avatar

I enjoy Twitter. I like talking to people and hearing what they have to say. When a few people all get involved in one conversation it’s kind of fun too.
It’s not all “I’m making a sandwich RIGHT NOW!” shit.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

@rawrgrr nahh! If people think you’re up to par and think you’re worth following, then they will! I have like 50-some odd followers and I only know probably 15 people with twitter! And I like to keep up with what’s going on so I have a broad range on who I follow. Hell, you can follow CNN!

hug_of_war's avatar

I tried twitter but I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do, I mean I know but it just felt like why. I guess I’m becoming a stubborn old person stuck in their ways.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

no. tumblr is more fun.
but twitter is kind of an instant satisfaction blogging site. i am a self-proclaimed lurker, and twitter is just the most basic form of lurking. it’s mildly entertaining, but i tend to abandon it for awhile.
basically, i like twitter as a ‘casual’ relationship, but nothing ‘serious’, like fluther and tumblr. [;

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Dog, OK, I am a lemon who likes AFI and whose inner pop star is Katy Perry, so my power number 12. OK?? The FB quiz said so! Why can’t you just let me be me without comment?! You just wait til I tell my Mafia Wars pals!~

It’s fun to see people whose work I respect tweet just like my friends do, although I’m sure in Stephen Fry’s case, he’ll probably tweet his last breath. Personally, because my FB pals and my followers on Twitter are two different crowds, I’ve hooked up my Twitter to my Facebook. Sorted! Now everybody knows my business!

eponymoushipster's avatar

@tiffyandthewall i thought we were twitter pals?!? boo!~

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m not on it, so I don’t know – sure feels like I’m the only one sometimes, lol

Beta_Orionis's avatar

It can be an incredible tool. I have my own minor, but relevant examples from my direct experience.
.

- Online businesses such as woot.com utilize it effectively as a sales tool. Very recently, Woot in particular, switched its product inventory feed from “sold out” to “Last Call” in order to notify followers when that day’s item is down to 10% of the original stock.

- Fresh & Easy, a Southern California based market, updates with product coupons and new deals. It also responds quickly and directly to individual consumer comments and questions.

- Marvel Comics used it recently as a marketing tool entitled “embrace change” to promote a new comic.

- In terms of real time data, the news aspect is particulary intriguing. This Summer, twitter actually notified someone I know about one of the 4.2 Southern California earthquakes a few seconds before he actually experienced the tremors.

- Adam Wilson, a biomedical engineering doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, created a brain wave interface that utilizes twitter. As his field leads your thoughts, I don’t even need to emphasize the implications that has. (The article is here for those interested.)

- I’ve also seen it used to coordinate large group events, such as demonstrations or improvisational public art groups. Members of a particular community will receive updates regarding event times, last minute location changes, or any other pertinent issues.

- I myself use it as a personal list of task/chore/assignment/project reminders when no paper media is readily available. In some ways it’s even more effective than an old school checklist as I’d be hard pressed to lose my twitter page.
.
.

Of course, there are uses that are less business or data oriented, ones that enhance your conscious experience, but I find those just as important as more technical uses.
.

- One of my favorite feeds is named TinyBuddha, which dispenses inspirational quotes at regular intervals, and often the quotes are highly applicable to the situation during which I receive them, given their archetypal inspirational nature, and often cause me to reevaluate life’s conditions from a new perspective, or provide me with with an escape from stressful thoughts.

- A professor from Carnegie Mellon University uses his account to note interesting ideas and contributors to his field, essentially compiling a small list of evolving inspirations that he can refer to and others can investigate.

- What’s more, if you associate with a diverse and intellectual group of individuals, they can often provide valuable insight or explanation to any question you pose, whether it regards theoretical physics, eclectic english grammar, or the fastest way to arrive to your destination. It’s the fastest long distance, potentially large scale collaboration tool with which I’m familiar.

- In a celebration of parenthood, one man created a belt for his pregnant wife to wear, which would update twitter each time the baby kicked at the mother’s belly. In addition to being a parental and familial intrigue, it also served as a reminder that the baby was alive and healthy.

I’m not denying that there exist a vast number of newcomers who have singled this out as their newest social networking fad, but anyone can follow those people in varying degrees or not at all. I’m pretty tired of people devaluing it as a tool by writing it off entirely because of the social use. In that vein, while social updates can be annoying to some (including myself,) I think that being so adamantly against the way others use it also devalues human interaction and a need to connect with others. While you and I may not find value in tweeting about lunch and seemingly unnecessary personal information, it must be important to those individuals and their followers else they wouldn’t be present.

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t know anyone who twitters so there isn’t really a point. Plus, I don’t really do interesting things, unless you count having a chicken in your shower.

Dog's avatar

@tinyfaery I reeeaallllyyy want to ask…

Dog's avatar

@tinyfaery Gotcha – not sure how I missed that thread.

ShiningToast's avatar

Twitter’s heyday is over in my book. Once Oprah got a bunch of people to join that had no business being on twitter, I quit.

DarkScribe's avatar

Twitter is fun – great for starting ridiculous rumours, impersonating people, practical jokes and causing general mayhem. Not for much else though, it gets boring very quickly. I use it and Facebook to stay in touch with family but that’s about it.

chelseababyy's avatar

Why don’t you make an account and try it for yourself. Then you can see what all the fuss is about.

CMaz's avatar

Twitter is one more dollop of spit in the internet soup.

perplexism's avatar

When it comes to twitter, the enjoyment is all in who you follow and how you use it. If you follow lame people who are tweeting things like, ‘I just took a shit’, then of course, your experience is going to be lame. I try to follow as many interesting people as I can, whether I know them, or not.

Personally, I think tumblr > twitter. But that’s just me.

Grisaille's avatar

You are standing at one end of a hallway that seemingly goes on forever. This hallway has a trillion different doors that lead to different rooms; these rooms then connect to more rooms, doors to other hallways that lead to more rooms, etc.

Each of these doors has a label; you’ve been here before and know of quite a few rooms that are your favorite. However, because this place is seemingly infinite in volume, you also know that there are a myriad of different things going on in other rooms that you just don’t know about.

Now, imagine if you had a constantly updating electronic monitor strapped to your wrist. As you are browsing this maze (the internet, for those of us who may be a bit slow), other users – people who are also browsing the maze – are updating the monitor in real time, telling you tidbits of information that may be happening miles and miles away from your present location. They supply a link that, when you press it, instantly transports you to that room, giving you full access to the information if you so desire.

That is Twitter’s purpose. Besides the “Walking down hallway b, thinking of my girlfriend” updates, you’ll also receive “Hey, we have a new update from a citizen journalist in Iran, check it out ‘here.’”

Like all misinformation, the myth behind Twitter started as a half-truth – that is, “why would I want to hear about what Ashton Kutcher had for breakfast, and why is it important?”

Granted, many Twitter users use the service to update personal, mindless shit (myself included, sometimes [read: 90% of the time]), but the important – significant – purpose the service provides is that it opens the door to a metric ton of information that you may have missed if you weren’t in one particular location. In fact, during the Iran election protests, Twitter was an invaluable tool for citizen journalists; because everything is super fast, word spreads quickly and most information that may have been intercepted by the Iranian government was able to pass through because of the massive complex of users.

If you think that Twitter is mindless or that it does not promote intelligent discourse – albeit in a limited way – you are incorrect. Besides the obvious sales advantage it provides for businesses (or freelance artists), Twitter excels in giving the opportunity to the layman to spread information across a network in a instantaneous and efficient way – whatever information that may be.

tandra88's avatar

I guess because it’s new and probably faster than Facebook. I personally don’t have either or a MySpace.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s a powerful combination of exhibitionism and mild forms of voyeurism. There’s consent between followers and people being followed. It can also be interpreted as the internet version of the big brother reality tv format. What are all these people doing all day? Oh, here’s an update. And the brain’s reward system kicks in. Thanks, twitter, for this wonderful neurotransmitter flooding the brain. What’s going on next? Anticipation… Ah, thanks again for this wonderful neurotransmitter. Oh, it feels so good. Want more? Let’s keep doing this.

Gundark's avatar

I’m fortunate to not have any friends that post mindless chatter like “I’m eating breakfast”. My friends and I use it mainly to share links to interesting and valuable websites, especially things that help us do our work, or raise awareness of causes we are mutually interested in. For that kind of thing, Twitter is much better, more focused than something huge, unwieldy, and unfocused like Facebook. Want to play games and waste a lot of time? Try Facebook. Want something with real value? Try Twitter, and stop following anyone with worthless tweets. Twitchuck is a decent tool to help weed out people that aren’t worth following.

And yeah, occasionally someone I follow posts a picture of what it looks like inside the stadium at a Royals game, or the view out their condo window, or some odd object they just found in their grandmother’s house. Not all tweets are have business or social value. So what? As they used to say, ”All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I personally don’t get it. I was curious what the fuss was about and checked it out. I dunno, it just doesn’t appeal to me. It’s, like… too one-note or something, I just don’t find it all that interesting. I like Facebook because there’s so much going on. Yeah, some of the quizzes people post are dumb, but between being able to choose to ignore certain applications and the fact that I must know some really cool people, I find it all pretty interesting.

Now, Tumblr.. I think it’s pretty awesome. When I first started my blog in 2003, the vision for what I wanted is Tumblr! Kind of an online journal, with a way to share all the weird and cool things I find on the web. Only, that didn’t exist, and I had to kind of make my own thing on Blogspot.

Grisaille's avatar

Apparently trying to convince people to join is worthless.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Oh yeah, and the other thing that turns me off about Twitter is that the people that use it, it seems to be all they can talk about. I know one woman that, no matter where you try to steer the conversation (away from Twitter), somehow she manages to bring it up and then wax on forever about who added her on which account, how many people are following her, and blah blah blah.

Apparently, I can’t stop venting about Twitter. Can I also say I dislike the lingo they’ve invented for themselves? Bleh. Makes me cringe a little bit every time I hear say someone say “tweet”.

justn's avatar

I used to use Twitter way before it was popular. It was addicting at first, but then that wore off. If you follow the right people, it can be a valuable source of information. I also liked that you could find fellow nerds in your city (back before Oprah got an account). Now its just full of crap and I’ve dropped it like a hot potato. Its a shame. I really wish it never would have gotten this popular.

DominicX's avatar

Twitter is for people who want a lot of connection to other people, be it people they know or don’t know. Personally, as outgoing as I may be, I don’t want that much connection. I don’t care what other people are doing and thinking all the time. If I’m truly interested, then I’ll contact them via phone, text, or God forbid—in person!

I have no problem with people who want that kind of constant connection and I do see how maybe 2% of the time, it is used for things more important than just “Facebook status updates” but to me, that’s just not enough to make me want to use it. I already have this site and Facebook to keep up with and I enjoy them both very much; I don’t need a third one.

Response moderated
galileogirl's avatar

It seems to be another way of saying how much more important a person is than anyone or anything else. I also don’t see the positives of Facebook/Myspace and IM’s

I used to agree to accept IM’s from people I know without realizing how intrusive they are. I do a lot of lesson planning and grading on line and people would just send the most inane messages and never seemed to consider you might be busy.

I am not interested in carrying on relationships with everyone I have ever known and I think cyber-relationships are just a little creepy.

As far as Twitter goes, it seems there is a real problem with privacy.. It seems it’s not to difficult to capture your messages. At the inauguration, some Congressmen were twittering and the next day the media had transcripts. What they were saying was juvenile. We all have thoughts go through our minds that are better left unspoken-or you look like a reaal dope

Fernspider's avatar

@tinyfaery Oooo, cute! Chickens! What happened to them in the end?

DarkScribe's avatar

It reminds me of small children who, as soon as they enter the room that you are in, will chatter endlessly about all of the trivia that has occupied their day.

As a parent you listen, make comments and pretend much more interest than you might really have. As an adult I find a pipeline back to kindergarten days little more than embarrassingly painful. I almost expect many of them to preface an announcement with a childlike “Guess what?”

Kraigmo's avatar

Twitter seems to have a great place, when a person is in danger, or exposing something important, or leaking out unusual information, or announcing some event.

But for the people who use it to communicate mindless things…. they’re just babies with their pacifiers.

Grisaille's avatar

@Kraigmo A simple and perfect metaphor. I disagree, but I have to admit, that was good.

Gundark's avatar

@MissAnthrope I dislike the lingo they’ve invented for themselves? Bleh. Makes me cringe a little bit every time I hear say someone say “tweet”.

Fortunately we’re above that kind of behavior here. One more reason to “lurve” Fluther!

nmac's avatar

There may be some annoying people on Twitter (certainly porn, spam, and self-promoters are). But social tech – I would argue :-) – can’t advance entirely on it’s own. It’s a sort of collaborative effort; and Twitter has contributed one or two things to the broader picture….

(1) it’s decentralized – e.g. a more democratic, interlinked (distributed) web space. (The web should be inter-linked, otherwise it’s not as useful. Search doesn’t have a context)

(2) This has opened-up-a-bit those other networks (notably, Facebook) bc it could leverage it’s realtime data.

(3) Open Twitter API has implications for new platform for data storage, that allows anyone who wants to take advantage of realtime,contextual information – made by humans. ... sort of what we’re doing right now.

kyle94481's avatar

Wow this is a big discussion. I only use it to follow groups or communities that I thoroughly enjoy on a day to day basis. I don’t actually post anything though.

BBQsomeCows's avatar

simple minds gravitate to simple expression

how much more simple (restrictive) that 160 characters is there?

eponymoushipster's avatar

@BBQsomeCows it’s 140 characters…and what’s ironic, your statement there is under 140 characters. guess it’s true.

Gundark's avatar

@BBQsomeCows Interesting perspective. I’ve always thought that the very smartest people are those who can express their complicated ideas simply and concisely enough for everyone to understand easily. I think that’s much harder to do than throwing reams of complicated language at people, and expecting them to do the work of parsing through it.

Whoops, I’m over 140 characters. Guess I’m not one of the really smart ones. Hung by my own theory!

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@Gundark consider this pneumonic (although accuracy is up for debate)
A lucky man is hung, and an unlucky one hanged. :)

rawbylaw's avatar

twitter is about to go the way of all internet fantasies. I read posts defending Twitter’s instanst news ability or great social import abilities and other high falutin capabilities and think, “oh, u po’ suckas.” for more than a decade, every new method of techincal communication has been greeted with optimist enthusiasm for long-term good social impact, (oh, how wistiful the the original dream of a free web was). a each time the money grab kills it. twitter is or about to sell out it vast user data matrix for big $$$, allow “limited” marketing within tweets, sell off and cash in. and then, disillusioned, the flock moves on to the next hope of really connecting in a meaninful way. you want a real connection, join a sewing circle, volunteer at a food bank, give your mom a call.

philosopher's avatar

No I never give personnel information out to people I do not know well .

Cheeseball451's avatar

Personally i don’t like twitter.

give_seek's avatar

Let me get this straight. You’re on Fluther . . . but you don’t get Twitter?

PacificToast's avatar

It’s their distraction from the issues that really matter. Though it may be a useful tool for reaching people. I thought we had the telephone for that.

Gundark's avatar

Twitter is much more efficient for sharing information with friends. Especially for things like links to news articles or web sites about important issues that really matter. It eliminates telephone conversations like this:

“No, I said dot bee jay eff.”

“dee jay eff?”

“bee jay eff. Bee as in bird.”

“OK, got it. I’ll walk over to my computer now and type that whole thing in.”

“Great. I’ll call Jeff and let him know, too. Whew, almost done! Only five more calls to make!”

bongo's avatar

I dont use twitter, i have to admit I still use facebook on a daily basis when i am supposed to be revising all I use it for is talking to my parents, finding out what events are on and seeing new photos of my friends as a few have recently had children and as i live far away from them now it is nice to keep in touch. I keep most of my photos private from other people, why should everyone see exactly what I have been doing?
I do use it for posting photos from field trips so that any useful photos I have taken can be used by others in my group for their projects. The facebook chat is also useful to have a natter with those people doing the same work as you/you just havent seen for a while.

I dont really understand the love of twitter. isn’t it just facebook status updates which is the worst part of facebook (other than those silly farmville type games and surveys) without the information about what raves/parties/birthdays etc are happening.
I may be wrong though! Does twitter have the chat service and can you upload photos and events?

I seriously dont understand it when people advertise themselves ‘follow me on twitter’ do you really want strangers knowing what you are thinking and doing at every minute of the day?

plethora's avatar

FYI….no twitter tweet is private including the private tweets. I had one show up on a google search I did on my name. Fortunately, it was simply a “Hello, how are you?” sent as a direct message to a particular person….and there it was on google.

addictionsfb's avatar

I am a contest/sweepstakes junkie. I love to win things and get things for free. I use Twitter to do just that. But we also have a business so we use Twitter for the business end of it and we have reached millions of people just by simply Tweeting.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

I do not.
No one needs to know that you are spreading the cream cheese on the bagel, and that you are currently eating it. It takes up too much of peoples’ time. I like FB, but Twitter is too far out.

pshizzle's avatar

Twitter is pointless and annoying. I hate it with a passion.

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