Just wanted to go on the record about Twitter since I've seen a noticeable backlash aimed at the free microblogging service in the past few weeks.
My friend Tom sent me an invite to join Twitter in the fall of 2006, so I did. I learned long ago that Tom knows everything there is to know about the internet and when he sends me an invite to a new application or program or site, I should at least check it out. He's what the kids call an Early Adopter and has a pretty good sense of what's going to catch on, what's useful, what's a good or interesting idea, and more importantly, what's not. He introduced me to Flickr, Myspace, and even the concept of blogs long before most people... well, I should say... long before anyone I knew would hear about them.
So when Tom sent me an invite to Twitter, I proceeded to explore it a bit and look under the hood, as it were. I didn't know what use it might have but it seemed like it could turn into something interesting. I gave Twitter a solid try when I went home for Thanksgiving that year and was bored.
My first "Tweet":
8:32 AM Nov 21st, 2006 from web
And then nothing. My tweet sort of just laid there, like the gift of a dead mouse deposited on a doormat by the family housecat.
There was a night a few months after this, in April of 2007, when I was at a screening party for the national premiere of a TV show called "DRIVE". Twitter co-founder Biz Stone was in the house giving us all live updates on who was watching across the country and what they thought of the show during the commercial breaks. We could even see a map on his laptop screen where the live Tweets were coming from. I'll admit, I thought it was intriguing and it seemed like there were quite a few people tweeting in their thoughts. It was kind of neat too, to consider the many and varied directions this application could eventually lead to.
So, I decided a few days later to put my toes back into the Twitter waters.
My second Tweet:
8:47 AM May 10th, 2007 from web
And again... I felt unsatisfied. There was no give and take, no back and forth. I couldn't get a sense of... well... a useful dialogue. Maybe it was still too early and I didn't have enough friends subscribing to Twitter yet, I thought. I put it on the back burner for awhile (nearly a year) before I tried again.
My third Tweet:
8:05 PM Mar 19th, 2008 from web
I never reached a point where I found a sense of personal purpose with Twitter but eventually I picked up the pace of my Tweets to one or two a month. In the interim of that third Tweet and now, Twitter caught on in a big way. Obama used it during his presidential campaign to appeal to the youth demographic (and then even John McCain jumped on the bandwagon), sports fans now tweet to each other during games, department stores use it to announce sale prices to its customers, and on and on. The examples of use are endless.
But still, I have not become a regular Tweeter. I'll pop one out there maybe every couple of weeks or so but then I just as quickly forget about using the service. If you want my honest opinion, I kind of think it's pointless and stupid and part of me agrees with all the Twitter haters (Twaters?) out there. I even hate the fact that we're supposed to call our posts "Tweets". It's banal.
Why then, you might ask, do I even bother with it? It's simple. My friend Tom is going to introduce me to another service or site or advancement down the line, and perhaps another one after that and another one after that. Surely what's coming will be based on the technological ideas or services or sites that we're using now and unless you want to end up like my Grandmother (trying to figure out, after watching a movie on DVD, how to rewind it "back to the beginning of the tape") then you'd better keep up. I'm not a huge fan of how Twitter crams communication into such a nothingness that it makes it moot altogether, but apparently the kids have decided that it's the future and that's the direction they've decided to take us in. There's no use fighting it. You can try, but you'll just get left behind and at some point you won't be able to catch up anymore.
If that pisses you off, you can take a small amount of solace in knowing that something else -- something that will eventually replace Twitter -- is already barreling down the pike towards us ready to send it the way of the mimeograph, the 8-track player, and the dial-up modem.
You can find me on Twitter here.