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I don't get Twitter.

And it's not just because I'm a long-winded bastard, though that's definitely true. (I can remember my elementary school days, when I'd come back to face another school year after a glorious summer of building rockets, tinkering with electronics, and shunning my peers, and the teacher would ask us to write a 250 word essay about what we did over summer vacation. "Two hundred and fifty words!" I'd wail. "How can I ever write two hundred and fifty words??!". Nowadays, two hundred and fifty words isn't even enough to write the introduction to what I did last weekend. But I digress.)

It's more that I don't really understand what the value is in sending out regular blips to the world explaining what I'm doing. It seems to me that if I'm doing something interesting, like tying someone to the bed and fisting her, I'm unlikely to stop what I'm doing to Twitter about it (and wouldn't you really rather read the full version later, anyway?), and if what I'm doing allows me to stop and Twitter about it, it probably isn't very interesting. "Waiting for potatoes to boil," for example. (Which is, honestly, what I'm doing right now. rain_herself has drafted me to help with the Thanksgiving cooking; those of you who know my cooking skills are probably reeling in stark raving terror right about now. But again, I digress.)

It seems to me that Twitter is really only ideal for those times when you're doing something interesting but you also can type about it on your cell phone, and I can't think of very many cases like that. Falling out of a burning airplane, maybe:

Mixed blessing. Survived the explosion, but...

Wow. Sure is cold. The ground is very far away.

Falling faster now. 9.8m/sec2 is a bitch.

hard 2 type. hands stiff. lots of wind.


So, those of you who use Twitter, what am I missing?



( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 27th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
The only person whose twitter I read is the writer of an online serial. She uses it to let her readers know when there will be an update or if she's going to be taking a break for a few days. Or if she's updating the site and it will be down for a period of time, things like that. Also, she has a function on her page that lets you see her twitter from her page, and don't have to go to the twitter site to see it.

But then again, I also had the texting function of my cell phone turned off; I don't really feel the need for immediate contact. If it's important enough it will warrant a call, if not it can wait until I'm not busy.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 28th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
Most of what you say about it is very true.

I use it because sometimes I have these little one sentence thoughts that normally wouldn't warrant doing a whole long livejournal post about it, but a tweet is about the perfect length to just record it for posterity. Plus it's hooked up to my facebook so I don't have to ever bother with updating my status there.
Nov. 28th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
yeah- I'm not a big twitter fan either...
Nov. 28th, 2008 12:19 am (UTC)
I totally agree that I couldn't care less what kind of cat food you bought today, but there are a few twitters where people are actually using it the way they SHOULD be. Here's a great example:

Nov. 28th, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
Wow, these are great, thanks!
They sure changed my mind about twitter...

- Ola
Nov. 28th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)

I think people who use it use it to get a sort of ambient awareness of what's going on with their friends. I'm sure it will get a lot more useful with an interface like clatter, but I wouldn't know. I get enough of people in the real world.

Nov. 28th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
Twitter is a way to break up the day. Reading about Othar from "Girl Genius" is amusing; John Cleese is still funny; various news and weather feeds are handy...

Twitter lets me know what's going on with other people. A friend was having a problem, I suggested a solution; another is having a bad day, I can call to cheer them up; a third is going out, and I might join them (or make a suggestion on NOT going somewhere!)

I don't know (or read) anyone that actually does the "driving to the supermarket" thing. Those that do really don't post long because they realize how boring that is as well.

(I used to use it to send mails to myself, but I use qwiry.com for that now...)
Nov. 28th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
I use it as a news aggregate. Especially during the election it was great to have any breaking news pop up with short but instant information for me. And also just to tweak the friends that I have subscribed to.
Nov. 28th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
I loved Twitter, when the IM function wasn't broken. Now I don't use it.

Nov. 28th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
You mean the "d" (direct) function? It still works.
(no subject) - drjon - Nov. 28th, 2008 06:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zastrazzi - Nov. 28th, 2008 12:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 28th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
I like my Twitter account for four reasons:

1. I feed my Facebook status updates to it, which makes them accessible to people who don't use Facebook, and also reads like a one-line blog of random Simpsons quotage. Not sure that the internet, let alone the world, really needs this, but it pleases me.

2. I feed all of my friends' one-line RSS feeds to a second locked Twitter account that I've added as a friend - all of their Facebook statuses (nice, because otherwise I only see a random selection rather than a full feed over time), their Delicious bookmarks, the events that my boy adds to our shared gCal/iCal and other such things. It bunches all of this messy stuff into one container, so I can skim through it quickly.

3. I harass my friends who post three or four one-line LJ musings a day to get with it and post these to Twitter instead. :)

4. I enjoy fantasising about cross-feeding all of my RSS feeds in an wonderful act of recursion and pointlessness, ultimately breaking the internet (or at least really irritating anyone subscribed), Twitter being a pivotal element in this act of random recursion. Yes, I'm aware this isn't a compelling reason for most people to adopt Twitter.

Edited at 2008-11-28 01:10 am (UTC)
Nov. 28th, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)
I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who doesn't get it.

If it's important enough to disturb me, then call or email me. I get pissed off at Twitter addicts who can't carry on a conversation with the people they're actually in the room with because they keep pausing to read messages or type every five minutes.
Nov. 28th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
Is it wrong to want to surreptitiously carve "kthxbai" into a headstone?

Nov. 28th, 2008 08:12 am (UTC)
I have now added that to my funeral plan.
Nov. 28th, 2008 02:48 am (UTC)
I'm with you. What I really don't get is feeding every day's worth of Twitterpation to one's LJ.

  • 07:35 Getting up. #
  • 09:07 God my job is boring. #
  • 13:15 On the can. Pheeeew! Shouldn't have had that second chili dog. #
Nov. 29th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
For cross referencing. Frankly I should figure out how to make my crossposts private so that they don't annoy people on my f-list. Or not. It's one of the warts in my "warts and all".
Nov. 28th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC)
Twitter is for those fleeting thoughts that you want to share, either with the world, or just with friends, but that aren't worth a thousand word blog post three hours later, or that you won't remember three hours later. eg. "Glad I picked a warm day to come to campus. OMG, so much cleavage!"

I use it a lot to make fun of my kid. She says something funny, I laugh. I "tweet" it. The twitter client I have on my phone is fast and simple enough that I can do it without taking away from being a good moderately decent parent.
Bug: "Kids these days..." after one of her friends runs across the road without looking.

It's also much better for "live blogging" than most other services. Get something out to the world - or just your friends - as it's happening. My daughter (I swear she's not the only thing I talk about normally) broke her foot, and I "tweeted" from the doctor's office as soon as I had the diagnosis. There were a lot of concerned friends and family watching for that.

Finally, it's moderately useful for impromptu social gatherings. eg. "Taking the kid to XYZ park in 15 minutes. Anybody wanna join us?"

Most importantly, IMHO, though, with any social networking service, more important than the service itself is how many of your friends use it. I use started using Twitter because my friends use Twitter, and so it's one more way for me to stay in touch with them, and for them to stay in touch with me. (Incidentally, I use a the Twitter app on Facebook to bring those posts over for the mostly separate group of friends that are on Facebook, but not Twitter.) Unless you tend to be the "early adopter" in your social circle, you're not going to bother with a service until you start hearing from your friends how much you need a Twitter (or Facebook, or Myspace, or LJ, etc) account...

Edited at 2008-11-28 03:10 am (UTC)
Nov. 29th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
I second the impromptu gatherings thing - we use it a good deal for just this. Also, especially when we're traveling or running lots of errands, coordinating and keeping people who would otherwise worry in the loop without having to call each of them. (i.e., Delayed in Chicago! I hate O'Hare so very much.)
Nov. 28th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
I use it during lulls, mostly. I twittered on my Disney trip, and it was when I was in line/on the bus/waiting for dinner.
I also (sometimes) use it for little one-line thoughts and notes. Sometimes I use it just so I can remember something later, sometimes it's things like "This is the stupidest book title ever:". If I had a cameraphone and Twitter supported pictures, I'd probably use it even more.
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