I’m just going to say it: deep down, I really dislike Twitter.
I have even thought about (gasp!) deleting my account. It only gets updated with meaningless jabber, and doing so would probably teach me to filter my thoughts – a lesson many Twitter users should learn, actually.
It’s okay to get a few tweets from a news outlet about Balloon Boy or from my favorite band about their new music. But when I get a series of tweets from friends who are essentially using Twitter to text each other about a lunch date, I draw the line.
Blogging and Twitter are set up on the same basic idea: users can post their thoughts and opinions for others to read, comment on, and re-post with their own opinions. One platform involves quick bursts of thought, while the other takes time to write and read. But both types of thought are important to a general social dialogue, right?
I’ve kept a blog since my sophomore year of high school. Fortunately my blogging has evolved from that online diary that (definitely) no one reads into thoughtful entries that (probably) no one reads (I’m being honest here). But I can take pride in the fact that if anyone was to stumble upon my blog, they’d find thought-provoking material.
Many writers enjoy the creative outlet of a blog. It’s like an opinion column – a way to get our voices and our writing out there, often in the hope someone will see it, like it and hire us. Good bloggers also read and comment on other blogs, both for entertainment and networking purposes.
Twitter, while based on the same premise, sends us back to our teenage blogging years. Many personal Twitter accounts have deteriorated into conversations between friends that would be better left to texting or calling, rants about life, and, very occasionally, a 140-character versions of “deep”-ish thought.
What, exactly, is this contributing to the online social world? Does it really have any value?
It probably doesn’t. Tweeting, as a friend recently tweeted (there’s some irony for you), has become a socially acceptable way to talk to ourselves. Keeping these inane, silly thoughts to ourselves simply isn’t as fulfilling as throwing it out to others, who may or may not be listening and who may or may not respond. We like to think what we have to say, no matter how trivial, is interesting. And just because people follow us, We get the sense that it really is interesting – even when it really isn’t.
But Twitter has a purpose. When it’s used for thoughtful, news-related, or socially important (sadly, what you had for breakfast doesn’t count as “socially important” or “newsworthy”) purposes, Twitter may have an edge over or enhance a blog or website. Instead of sitting back and waiting for people to visit their sites, companies, entertainment figures, bloggers and news outlets send tweets that draw traffic to their content. It’s just that many of us (*raises hand*) use it to inform the Internet world of what we think of customers at work or what we think of the latest Lady GaGa song (amazing, totally in love with it – just FYI).
Still, chances are good that I, along with the other tweeters who like to tell the world about something dumb they encounter or the awesome party they’re at, will be keeping Twitter. We really just want to talk. And sometimes, we don’t need a whole blog post to say what’s on our minds.
Image: Annie Mole