Friday, June 5, 2009

What's the Big Deal With Twitter?

For the last few months, I've been staying on the sidelines regarding Twitter much in the same way I stood on the sidelines for a year or so when blogging was suddenly taking the nation and the world by storm. "Nah, I'd never get into blogging," I said. "Who cares about what I think about anything? It's a fad and it'll burn out."

Well, about 2000 posts later, I think that notion's been thoroughly disabused.

But Twitter's something else. It seems that after being hot for about a month or so, the novelty of "microblogging" through 140 or less character messages called "tweets" is wearing off. In fact, a recent study found that only 10% of all Twitter users generate 90% of the content (and knowing the prolific Karl Rove, he probably generates over half of that). This would seem to suggest that, like blogging, a large percentage of that remaining 90% are either already losing interest in tweeting or have abandoned the idea altogether.

Oddly enough, the study showed that both men and women are more likely to follow male Twitter accounts, which, while it may be in keeping with the largely monosyllabic half of the species, seems odd considering there's really no way to ascertain or prove gender in a 140 character or less tweet.

Myself, even though I never had a Twitter account and don't plan on starting one, I've read enough about it to suspect that it's really nothing more than electronic graffiti only easier to remove than spray can paint or scratches in a toilet stall. It's text messaging for the masses, since the threshhold is 140 characters, or what you can send in a standard text message.

But, obviously, I've been wrong before. Witness my attitude 5 years ago about political blogging.

So if I opened up a Twitter account, would anyone be interested in what I'd have to say on the fly?


At June 5, 2009 at 7:33 AM, Anonymous Earl said...

It can be interesting, but fairly useless if I've got my computer.

I almost always have my computer.

At June 5, 2009 at 8:50 AM, Anonymous Earl said...

I'm not even sure what the last comment meant regarding if YOU decide to attempt Twitter.

All I can say about that is that I would read it.

(Heck, I've found your blog three times, I think!)

At June 5, 2009 at 8:55 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Well, I guess you don't need a computer if you subscribe to a Tweeter. All you need is a cell phone, I think.

Like getting text messaging. Which wouldn't make Twitter redundant at all, would it?

At June 5, 2009 at 9:02 AM, Blogger Pryme said...

In your case, JP, I think Twitter would confine you. You're more than just quick, quippy observations.

Besides, the people I've seen use Twitter don't use it exclusively; they use it in conjunction with other web-based tools. Unless you're a comedian or a modern-day Mark Twain of course, than I guess different rules apply.

At June 5, 2009 at 9:06 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Well, I used to write for Dangerfield back in the 70's. I excel at one line comedy.

And sometimes I really don't have much more to day than a pithy line or two.

At June 5, 2009 at 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

twitter...former skeptic.

but now i love it. I find it a nice way to keep track of all the varied interests I have. Professionally I follow people who are in my profession or related to it. Sometimes i dont have time to read all the trades so this gives me the headlines in brief. Then personally I follow people who are into things i'm into and who share useful information that would be interesting to people with that interest. For example, I love concerts, politics, gardening, fashion, and strangely, neurology...just to name a few. I've gotten so much useful information personally and professionally that I would never have otherwise found. Then there are people i follow just because they're funny or insightful. There's a rabbi i follow who always seems to have something poignant to say, a buddhist I follow who always seems to tweet something that makes me stop and think, and a few funny people, who always send me something that makes me laugh.

I was skeptical of it at first. Had an account for two weeks before I did anything with it. But after a trip to wefollow to search for people to follow basd on interests, and finding some cool folks to follow, I'm totally hooked.

At June 5, 2009 at 10:32 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Thanks for sharing with your experience with Twitter. It gives me food for thought.

At June 5, 2009 at 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At June 5, 2009 at 10:34 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

No, what?

And, uh, your OpenID is closed. Much irony in that?

At June 5, 2009 at 2:46 PM, Blogger Bob said...

I removed a blog from my blog list for adding a Twitter widget. That blog was borderline anyway. You wanna tweet, fine. But give us the choice.

At June 5, 2009 at 3:01 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Wow! Really, Bob? So you're saying if I tweet, I may delete another blog?

Like that would be a first...

At June 5, 2009 at 9:34 PM, Anonymous ShortWoman said...

Sure, I'd follow you. You'll find me @bmagnus

At June 5, 2009 at 11:32 PM, Blogger Bukko Boomeranger said...

Pardon me if I seem to have an obsessive memory about your blog, but my mind has an ability to remember useless trivia about certain things the way that some guys remember RBI stats. Didn't you have a sidebar widgetty thing near the top right, above your blogroll, a few years ago where you could post quick bits? Was that like a proto-Twitter? You posted a couple of things, I posted a few silly replies, but it didn't seem to amount to much.

I think Twitter is silly, and an impediment to actual human contact. I have no use for it, but I'm a guy who doesn't even carry a mobile phone because I ENJOY being out of reach. OTOH, the anonymous who started as a Twitter sceptic made some valid points in its favour. Thanks for a valuable viewpoint, anon.

At June 5, 2009 at 11:43 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Didn't you have a sidebar widgetty thing near the top right, above your blogroll, a few years ago where you could post quick bits? Was that like a proto-Twitter?

Right you are. It was like a mini bulletin board. For a few days, I even had a chat room. Remember that?

At June 6, 2009 at 5:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno about this Twitter thingy..When I was a youngster and walked 10 miles UPHILL ONE WAY in the snow to attend elementary school...The term Twit had a very different and derisive meaning.

Here's how I imagine a typical Twitter page appears:

JCM1056 @ 1:00 pm: I just woke up!

Dawn27 @ 1:07 pm: OMG!!! I just woke up too!!!!

JCM1056 @ 1:15 PM: I've just made a pot of coffee.

Joe73 @ 1:17 pm: What kind and what brand?

Dawn27 @ 1:25 pm: OMG!!! I LOVE COFFEE!!!!!

You get the idea....

At June 6, 2009 at 1:28 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

OK, I'm seriously creeped out. Someone already took my handle. I found that out because I'm about set up a Twitter account.

So look for some variation of my usual handle. I have to keep the brand name out there, after all.

At June 6, 2009 at 1:48 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Hey, Shorty. Twitter says they don't have a @bmagnus on file. Now what?


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