Twitter Pitter Patter Twop: Hating Twitter.

I like Twitter and I use it a lot, but really, I don’t care if you do, or if anybody else does. And I don’t get why people seem offended by it, but they do, a lot. What’s up with that? Is it politics or religion? Defensiveness maybe?

For example, this rant appeared as a comment underneath my loving and hating Twitter post on Huffington Post:

Why should Twitter and tweets replace perfectly good ways to send the same information, or even more/better info? It seems to be like saying “the telephone is not good enough, we need to return to telegraph.” Why can’t we just send an email saying the same thing as a tweet, and the email recipient gets a “inbox from __” alert email? Why can’t the tweet be posted to FB’s “what I’m doing” box, or why can’t a blogger’s blog be where the post is posted, with a service that sends an email to followers that tells them a new post is available or repeats the post?

This new tech is redundant and does not improve the old model; instead it hamstrings it by limiting the text. Twitter just doesn’t make sense. Half the people who sign up for it right now are doing so because they want to see why all the comedy shows are mocking it.

In the end Twitter will become a national joke and then recede until it fails like so many other net companies. (Unless they change their business model and then they won’t be Twitter so much anymore but Facebook with less benefits.) However there is a new tech better than Twitter: it is called the telephone. You’ll never have to type a teletype again to communicate– save time, leave tweets on people’s phonemail… viola! I’ve heard this telephone thing saves time and trouble, why not try it?

What interests me is the apparent overreaction. That commenter doesn’t see the difference between publishing 140-character pieces to as many people as choose to get them, all at once, and a telephone call or an email. Obviously he or she doesn’t get Twitter. So why comment at all? The post doesn’t accuse non-Twitter-users of anything.

And another commenter wrote:

So it’s sort of like IMs. Which are an obnoxious, invasive interruption. I check my email compulsively, but IMs are like the person next to you on the plane who won’t shut up.

There again, since that person obviously doesn’t get it, why so much anxiety? I’m still shocked with this one. There’s somebody who should not have the instant messenger running on his or her computer, right?

Last week I took my Twitter etiquette list, which I put here on this blog first, and put it onto the Huffington Post. And somebody took the time to comment:

The mundane details of people’s lives are all Twitter is. That and spamming.

There again, somebody who obviously doesn’t get it, but cares a great deal about it nonetheless.

Not that any of this matters, but I’m just curious … is there some moral issue related to Twitter? Or political, maybe, or religious? What’s up with that?


  • Julia Erickson says:

    Thanks for a great post summarizing my perplexity re people’s visceral reactions against Twitter. Just because they don’t get it, do they have to condemn it?

    People ask me “why are you on Twitter?” I tell them that it’s like the office water cooler for stay/work-at-homes like me, that it helps me make people aware of my blog and drives traffic there so I can help more people, and that I get lots of great information about my field and the world. These reasons make sense to them. When they understand why I tweet, they stop being so judgmental about it. I explain that it’s a tool that I use as part of my business model. While they still don’t understand why THEY might tweet, every single one asks me to help them get on Twitter.

    I think context is incredibly important to Twitter. If you have a reason to tweet – to drive traffic, to publicize a project or book, to hire someone, to spread news, to market a product, to handle customer complaints, to raise your public profile – then you end up embracing it. It does take time. Is it a time waster? Only if we let it be…as with every single other business tool and task there is in this world of ours.

  • Jan Schwartz says:

    Wow, I was talking about this very thing with my walking partner this morning. Twitter came up at a dinner party the other night–two of eight of us use it. Several of the others bashed it as being a time suck, stupid and nonsensical. I asked if they ever tried it. The answer was no. Huh?

  • Aaron Goodman says:

    I used to be a twitter hater, and my initial skepticism for it came over the myspace days when people would fill the bulletin space, and then the facebook “stalker feed”, with inane useless crap that I didn’t care about, yet would slog through in hopes that there’s some nugget buried deep down there. Generally there wasn’t, which added to the frustration. Twitter, at first glance, appears as though someone had decided to take that frustration and give it it’s own website. This frustration is then compounded by the fact that everyone and their mother is jumping on the twitter bandwagon, proving that there is no intelligent life here on earth because as far as we can tell, it’s using this incredible medium of communication to tell us that it’s totally stressing finals, and had a cheeseburger for lunch and the fries were stale.

    People don’t understand what it’s for, and this creates a 2 sided problem. People either like or dislike what they think it is, and the ones who like the “I’m eating waffles” tweets stay on and give those who don’t like it more to gripe about because “see? it IS stupid”.


  • Rob says:

    I share the views of your two quotes – though certainly not as abrasively. Twitter can give you a great method to connect very quickly to massive amounts of reference or information. However, personally I don’t find this service worth the cost of maintaining yet another membership to an online service / community, especially when, as one commenter noted, this comes in through a variety of other sources.

    And I speculate that most people find this the case as 60% of all new users fail to return. So with this data, are there 60% of people “who obviously doesn’t get it” as you commented? I’m not so sure of that.

    Tim, I’d be very interested in a post from you on why you think Twitter is the new sliced bread, to steal a little slang from 1994. While I do not predict a implosion for the service, I still have heavy doubts for a mass-appeal by Twitter. Instead, the service is likely headed for a successful niche service offering – the viability of which is probably the greatest benefit of the internet, right?!

  • Peter Renton says:

    Twitter is popular. It is being mentioned everywhere from The Daily Show to the cover of TIME magazine. When a popular phenomenon like this comes along it challenges people. Why are so many people signing up? Are they all fools? But unless you are willing to spend the time investigating Twitter you will likely not get it. Far easier to form an opinion that because the masses like it, it must be stupid. That way you can continue on with your business and not feel threatened by it. For now.

  • Jeremy says:

    Funny post Tim. I have wondered the exact same thing myself. Quite a few people that I know have bashed Twitter everytime they got the chance. That is actually what got me on Twitter… I had to know what the big debate was all about. It’s a messaging tool, not a religion. Personally, I like the tool and spend some time on it during the day. If you don’t like it… fine don’t use it. It’s usually not quite that simple though. I do wonder how many of the people who are bashing Twitter have actually even used it before starting their bashing. My bet is that very few have and that the anti-Twitter reaction is merely a reaction to all the media hype and overuse of the tool (seriously you can comment on the weather now via The Weather Channel’s twitter account).

    Jeremy @

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *