On several occasions, I have come close to begging you people to leave me the hell alone, but you just couldn’t let it lie. No… you just had to keep poking me with sticks until I got angry didn’t you? Well, unfortunately for you, despite your best efforts to convert me, the only result of your tireless assault is a sad little blog entry entitled “Twitter Blows”.
I hope you’re happy.
For those of you that have been vacationing on a distant planet for the last five years, let me try to explain Twitter in layman’s terms. Basically, you can follow other Twitter users (henceforth referred to as “tweetards”), and they can follow you. When you post a message (otherwise known as a “tweet”) it is sent out to all your followers, and when someone you are following posts a message, it is sent out to you.
That is it in a nutshell.
This is not a complex concept at its core. In fact, since it’s basically a tool to send SMS messages to groups of people… there’s not a complex bone in its pathetic little body. So, you might venture to ask, what makes such an unassuming little messaging product so deserving of my wrath?
Well, as you probably know, normally I can cheerfully let the morons wallow in their own stupidity (yeah, I know… not really), but I am getting a little tired of hearing about how Twitter not only cures cancer but also gives you minty-fresh breath. I mean, forfucksake people! It’s an interface to SMS, not a “political movement” or a “social revolution”.
I know what you die-hard Twitter freaks are thinking; you’re thinking “Sign up for an account Craig… Just try it… You will be one of us… *drools*”. Well, if I had a nickel for every funky-smelling wild-eyed tweet-junkie that chanted a similarly ill-informed prediction… I would have precisely one nickle because, after the first one, I haven’t let them get past the words “Sign up” before applying a swift but powerful rabbit-punch to the adam’s apple and making a run for it.
But the truth is that I have, in fact, tried it. You see, one of my close friends kept waxing rhapsodic about Twitter and eventually I decided that I should give it a try. So… with great trepidation, I created my account, registered my cell phone, and began following them.
Something important to note here is that, because of its association with SMS, each message is limited to 140 characters. As a result, I really had no intention of posting anything myself because it doesn’t really give you much room for creativity and, as you might have guessed, I have a problem being… concise. In fact, it really only lends itself to the dissemination of simple and painfully mundane details. The first few hours of tweets on my new account looked something like this:
Paco: I installed a new Linux distro
Paco: I hate mornings
Paco: I just installed another Linux distro
Paco: Squirrels are dumb
If, at that point, I simply responded to this last message to inform Paco that I took exception to his uninformed opinion on squirrels, then the result would be a tweet which would go out to every one of my followers without any reference to Paco’s original message unless they too were following him (like hearing one side of a phone conversation). Ironically, this response would not actually go to Paco unless he was following me. In summary, a thoroughly unintuitive departure from the logical way that all other systems of digital communication work. Awesome.
NOTE: Before you tweetards start frothing at the mouth, yes I know that you can respond to people on Twitter, but in ANY OTHER form of digital communication I do not need to re-address a REPLY, so kindly shut the hell up. Thank you.
And, even if its interface made sense, who can tolerate constantly receiving microscopic updates about other peoples lives? And, more importantly, what kind of sick psychopath can justify sending them? I would estimate that roughly 60% of Twitter users out there are shallow, narcissistic, attention whores who really believe that every tiny moment of their pathetic self-absorbed lives is a nugget of pure joy to their followers and who only learned about Twitter because they got a glimpse of it while masturbating to Anderson Cooper’s 360.
All of this is also true for the remaining 40% but in addition, they still wet their beds.
It was only through a herculean display of willpower that I did not delete my account within the first 24 hours. But I found the constant interruptions for useless details more than a little annoying, and so I disabled the SMS feature, which lead me to the same place that I am sure millions of other Twitter users have been; I figured out, to my surprise, that this tool was actually kinda useless for its original intended purpose. It was akin to getting a new hammer only to find out that it doesn’t actually work on nails.
Not daunted by this, however, the Twitter community has shamelessly whored itself out to every possible purpose they could find (breaking news, politics, self promotion, marketing, etc.) in a desperate effort to find some niche to stick to. If you asked the average tweetard, they will tell you that it’s absolutely perfect for every single one of them. If you asked me, it has only proven that it is great at pissing me off.
Let’s examine its use as a source of news…
For a moment, lets ignore the fact that there are a wide array of decades-old technologies that can provide you with more than 140 characters of breaking news from legitimate sources whose sole job is to seek out and report on important global events; sources, mind you, that actually perform a monumentally underrated service known as “fact checking”.
…ok, we’ve ignored it for a moment.
Are you people out of your friggin’ minds? Really? You want to rely on common people to provide you with your news?! Have you met common people!?! They’re idiots! The other day, I saw someone back into a parking spot in the middle of a completely empty parking lot! These people that you are relying on for news? This is their king!
Not convinced? Ok, how about this? As per a study of Twitter that was done by Pear Analytics, in which they randomly sampled tweets and categorized them, the “News” category only made up roughly 3.6% of all tweets. Compare that to the 38% that were categorized as “Conversational” and, even better, the 41% that were categorized as “Useless Babble” and you can see where I am going here. Sure… there may be news in there somewhere, but you have to burrow through a mountain of shit to get to it.
Sample Twitter log:
Who’s up for lunch?
Megan Fox makes me have impure thoughts
A plane just landed in the Hudson
Where the hell are my pants?
Peanut butter is yummy
It’s like playing “Where’s Waldo?” with important information. No thanks. I already have plenty of useless, unverified trivia in my life. I suspect that, even though people say they want all this unwashed information, they will ultimately gravitate towards sources they can trust and ignore the rest. Who has the time to sift through it all?
Sadly, however, I am certain that Twitter will survive for a good long time based solely on its media hype and momentum and, one day perhaps, its hardcore zealots will even claw their way to a legitimate non-contrived purpose for it. If that day comes I will reactivate my account and give it another try.
Until then, shut your gaping cake-holes, because I am really not interested.