Twitter’s Pros and Cons: Bob, On Seriously Hating All That Twitter Stands For
Published: Wednesday, December 9, 2009
To paraphrase the song “War” by Edwin Starr:
“Twitter, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Twitter, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Retweet it, y’all”
I have railed against Twitter for some time now—much to the amusement of one or two colleagues, I’ll add—and since iLounge has decided to embrace this medium, I am going to take a moment to explain why you won’t be reading any tweets from me in our new iLounge editors’ feed.
I loathe Twitter and all that it has come to represent. The world does not need an aggregator of every few minutes of a person’s life in 140 characters, starting from when he wakes up in the morning, to a banal list of his habits and haunts—shopping lists to Starbucks and so on—to toilet tweet updates, all concluding with the predictable, moronic “Goodnight tweeple, sweet dreams, blah blah blah.” From my perspective, the only thing more awful than such updates is that some of this junk attracts thousands of “followers,” who then also share their every movement with thousands of followers, and so on. Is anyone actually reading all this, or is it just a bunch of junk being “followed” by people for the sake of aggregating invisible friends? No matter; hard-core Twitter users seem to relish this cyber scalp hunting and useless milestoning: “Twen thousandth tweet coming up, welcome to my twenty-thousandth follower!” That’ll be 10,000 short sentences of banality you have shared with 20,000 SEO accounts, and do any of them really give a damn what you’re typing? No! Facebook is for people who have friends; Twitter is for people who don’t but still have the ego to think that people care what they say.
Don’t get me started on the lexicon that has grown exponentially with the popularity of Twitter—it is making me want to throw my iPhone, laptop and Internet connection into the nearest bin. “Attwicted,” “Tweeple,” and “Tweetup” are just a small example—for god’s sake, most of you people are adults, can’t you realize you sound like 3-year-olds? The fact that some sad Twit has sat down and compiled a whole dictionary is even worse. Suddenly the dumbed down human race portrayed in the film Idiocracy seems to be here and now, communicated in 140-character jumbles. And now books are appearing on store shelves to help you understand Twitter! What is there to understand? It would be amazing to me if some of the people on Twitter even had the ability to read something as complicated as a book, especially one where the pages have more than 30 words each and need to be considered in sequence.
But struggle against the tide as I might, more and more established media are now urging viewers to “follow us at @XXXXX” because they think it is the trendy thing to be saying and doing. People I respect from various walks of life are now jumping onto the Twagon (I made that one up) or Twain (not Mark), though when I was asked whether I would follow them if doing so provided a better understanding of their activities, the simple answer was no. This video got it right many moons ago; sadly, this sequel showed the futility of struggling against the fail whale.
Can Twitter be reclaimed from the Idiocracy wannabees and put to good use? Perhaps iLounge’s feed will convince me that it can be done, but I’m not interested in joining in to be a part of the tweeting. I couldn’t even restrict this tirade to 140 words, let alone 140 characters, as the Twitriol inside just came bubbling out. Agree? Thank you. Disagree? Please retweat into your Twittersphere and twemble in outwage.
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