Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Is Twitter useful?

Once heralded the Next Big Thing in social media; are people taking Twitter too seriously? Ah, well, you see, many things that started off as a bit of fun between friends (Facebook, YouTube) are now seriously popular.

I still, despite long conversations with collegues, can't see the business application of a device which is used by so many people as yet another stream of consciousness updater. Microblogging is not what I want to see.

So you live your life online, you work there, you play games there, you blog about the interesting things you've seen (presumably on the way from the computer to the fridge). Do we really need to know what you're thinking every 4 minutes?

Some journalists (especially journalism educators) maintain that Twitter is useful as a tool for keeping in contact with your editorial team. Okay, so a story breaks and you need to get the details out quickly. That would be great. Recently, you may have seen my posts about the 2008 Manchester Earthquake...being awake at 1 i the morning and not knowing who to contact about it. Should I have twittered? I don't think so. I can phone or text just as easily without the need to engage in what is essentially a bit of fluff application.

I see Twitter as a needless and obstructive device, the problem being that the communication is one-way only. If you "twit" (ie post on twitter), you can't enter into a dialogue with people who are "following" (ie reading) your posts. You can post on your own page replies to your followers, but this somehow misses the point.

Conversation seems to be the flavour of the month with Twitter at present, as Mike Butcher ably covers here.