Twitter: Latest fad for the ‘Information Superhighway’
Twitter provides you with plenty of Tweets, which are sort of like dumber versions of blog entries.
The Internet is particularly susceptible to media fad mentality. Back in the early days of the Web’s mainstreaming (about 1995), people in the media loved throwing around goofy fad terms like “Cyberspace,” “Virtual Realm,” and the “Information Superhighway.”
The latter was always my favorite, because it managed to take a one-syllable concept — the “Web” — and turn it into needless four-syllable jargonese. These names existed only because journalists wanted to sound cooler when they reported them.
Such is the case with the Internet’s latest mega-craze, Twitter. I gotta be honest with you. I fail to see the value of Twitter in about 95 percent of its application. Who needs a status update on you eating lunch, or going to a movie, or DRIVING A CAR? (Dude: Drive your car; don’t “tweet” your status for those of us “following” you.) There’s even a microblogging cat on Twitter.
The media is partially to blame for Twitter’s continued (and, to me, inexplicable) ultra-popularity. A mostly worthless endeavor has become a worldwide sensation because of the stories about it that the media reports. I don’t understand it, but facts are facts.
I mean, Ashton Kutcher races CNN to get 1 million followers? Who cares? Oprah Winfrey tweets her first message live in front of a studio audience on her show? Who cares?
Twitter is successful because everyone wants in on the action and wants to be “cool” and “hip” and “with it” and has flocked to it in a massive herd mentality. Old media (newspapers, TV, etc.) is getting in on the action because they don’t want to be perceived as, well, “old” media. Even people like me consider jumping on the bandwagon, lest we miss out on an opportunity to promote our web sites.
But the level of content on Twitter is by definition of near-zero depth. 140 characters is barely enough to write a coherent sentence, let alone a worthwhile thought.
Back in the early ’00s, when blogging was first taking off, the original concept of the blog was to provide a running online journal for anyone and everyone (but, more typically, no one) to see. Gradually, the blog evolved into the 21st-century’s opinion column, except that now anyone could be a columnist. The evolution turned something pointless into great content, and now most content on the Internet is in blog form.
But now, with Twitter, it’s like they’ve hit the blog reset button, taking the original blog concept and trapping it in a box of 140 characters, ensuring that it absolutely cannot grow into anything worthwhile, because THAT’S THE POINT. I hated the concept of the blog when it first began. And now we’re going to micro-blog the blog. What’s the point?
Eventually, maybe we’ll all come to our senses and realize that Twitter is a goofy fad. Probably around the same day that Twitter Inc., which currently has no business model, realizes they need to start tweeting us all with ads or charging for the service.
Until then, I’m going to have to decide for myself and for Jammer’s Reviews & Blog: To Twitter or not to Twitter? While Twitter would be a useful marketing tool to encourage more site interaction here, my gut tells me I don’t want to open that can of worms. To open a Twitter feed would simply create yet another monster that needs to be fed. Besides, 140 characters doesn’t seem to fit my style. If you haven’t noticed by most of my writings, I tend to be rather long-winded. I dunno, what do you think? Is Twitter worth it?
Video: Twitter is taken to the nth degree in this “Flutter” parody. It may be a joke, but at some point I’m sure this is where we’re going to end up.