Twitter Will Die And I'll Tell You Why
Proponents of Twitter would have you believe that it is a useful tool. You'd be smart to listen to the opinions of these folks as they've proven time and time again that they know what they're doing in the online space. The message has been so loud and clear that even those that were initially skeptical have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. And yet despite my efforts to convince myself that I should use Twitter, I find myself more and more inclined to shut down Twhirl and move on.
Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should
Much of what gets posted to Twitter is not valuable to the community. I'm not saying that there has to be a money-making idea in ever message, but a message to your network should at least be of value/interest to more than one person. I don't need to know that you'll be calling so and so at 9:00pm tonight. Send an instant message instead or use the direct message feature.
Messages are Transient
E-mail, forums, blogs, and even instant messaging allow for asynchronous conversations. If you're a night owl and I'm an early bird, we can still have a useful conversation by sending messages to each other via e-mail with each of us responding when it is most convenient. Forums and blogs accomplish the same thing with people coming and going as they please and give everyone a chance to speak their mind. With Twitter, if I'm not looking at the screen when you post your message, it's unlikely I'll ever see it. It'll get bumped by the 17 posts (see Blah Blah Blah below) from the next person.
Blah, Blah, Blah
The Twitter creators have imposed a 140 character limit per message. Pretty cool idea when you think about it. People are forced to succinctly describe their thoughts or activites. Oh wait, no one actually pays attention to that limit. Rather than being brief, it's easier to just type 17 messages in a row. Get a blog people!
A Rip in the Spacetime Continuum
Twitter is like TV. You can park yourself in front of it, become really engaged, and hours later wonder what you did during all that time. I had a 1 week period where all I did was check Twitter instead of checking my RSS feeds. I can't rememeber a single thing I learned from Twitter nor did I bookmark anything for reference. Contrast that with the incredibly useful AND entertaining items that come through my feed reader and I'm having a hard time justifying continued use of Twitter.
Too Many Followers
We've all seen the contests that encourage people to become followers, right? The only beneficiary of such activities are those that are being followed. I can guarantee you that after a few hundred followers, it's impossible to remain part of the conversation with everyone. Instead, these popular people are likely to just focus on the people with which they had a pre-Twitter connection. Twitter then just becomes another medium to push one's blog posts or other message i.e. one-way communication.
One Way Conversations Get Old
I follow a bunch of people in the SEO/SEM space. I do so because I've come to respect the content on their blogs. The problem is that many of my messages to these people go unanswered. I'm sure part of the reason has to do with the items described above, but the other part is that these people aren't following me and/or aren't open to receiving messages from me. At least on their blogs I've got a good chance of getting a response when I post a comment. If I want to talk while being ignored, I can accomplish that by setting up a meeting at work
Lastly, I want to be fair and acknowlege that Twitter has been useful at least once. After all, I did get this blog post out of it.