Monday, March 10, 2008

Newbie is Twittering: I don't get it

At PodCamp Toronto back in February, and in fact at any social media-related meetup or get-together in recent memory, the buzz has been all about Twitter. Twitter, it seems, is the Next Big Thing in social media, the app that everyone is talking about. Most of the folks who led me into the social media space -- Mitch Joel, Michael Seaton, Eden Spodek, Kate Trgovac -- are ardent fans of Twitter.

But I just don't get it.

I have tried, oh how I have tried. I joined Twitter about 6 months ago when hardly anybody I knew was on it; I quickly gave it up as not relevant to me because, as anyone on Twitter knows, it's only as valuable as the people you're following.

Recently, when everyone I know was exhorting me get back on it and follow them, I did... for about two weeks before I lost interest again.

I have no explanation for this except that it's just not for me. I'm really just not all that interested in brief snapshots of what people are thinking about at that moment. Oh, I can definitely see the appeal, and I can definitely understand the incredible value for anyone who can access Twitter via their mobile or handheld, especially those who travel a lot and find themselves stuck in layover and wanting a quick meetup. In fact Twitter was invaluable in the hours after the presentations had wrapped up on the Saturday at PodCamp Toronto -- thanks to Twitter 3 separate groups of people shared notes about their relative locations, and successfully connected at a restaurant that could accommodate 25 people.

But I don't have a handheld, or a mobile with web access, and I'd really rather read the reasoned, fully thought out musings one finds in blog posts than off-the-cuff thoughts on Twitter.

All of which makes me feel oddly disconnected from the social media crowd. Usually I'm among the first to embrace, then evangelize these kinds of tools. So tell me: am I missing something? am I using it wrong? Worse, am I missing out? Or am I just part of the larger mainstream that hasn't caught on to Twitter, and won't until it tips into the popular consciousness like facebook did?


Connie said...

Hi Jenny:

Funny you should ask this question--I just posted a comment over on Daniele Rossi's blog in which he talks about "getting" Twitter a year later following his second Podcamp Toronto-- see A Year Later Twitter is Still Great.

Definitely Twitter is not for everyone. And if you are staying connected to people without it, that is great. For me many of my colleagues are around the world and we rarely exchange email. So this is a fantastic way for us to keep tabs on what each of us is doing, and allows me to ask questions when I see that someone is doing something similar to me.

Some of my colleagues and friends are on Facebook, but I find it too noisy and full of ads so rarely go there. Think of Twitter as the status notes on Facebook--you can see what everyone is doing at any given time. And some of us update more than a few times a week.

That being said, it can be horribly time consuming. And if your preference is for though-out blog posts, this "microblogging" might just be too much noise.


Bargainista said...


Not all social media tools are for everyone. Choose what works for you.

I've received a lot of personal value from the connections I've made on twitter just in the past two months since I added a personal account in addition to the "news" channel I launched for Bargainista early last year.

I've learned a lot, shared a lot and stayed up-to-date. I'm astounded at the power of my twitter network.

However, I agree with you and Connie that it's not for everyone. Just like Second Life isn't for everyone. I'm truly in awe of how you've used Second Life both personally and professionally.

What is important is an awareness and knowledge of the different social media tools available so you can use them and/or suggest them when applicable to a specific project or need.

Jenny Bullough said...

Thanks Connie and Eden for your insights! Both of you make an excellent point, that social media tools are not one-size-fits-all. Everyone needs to pick and choose the tools that will work best for them.