Twitter


Not long ago I climbed atop my soapbox and railed on the utter senselessness of Twitter, a social networking service that essentially asks participants to continuously update their response to one simple question … What are you doing now? I decried the narcissism that permeates from the notion that others would find your daily routines of interest and shook my head in disbelief as armies of people lined up to find out where their friend was shopping or who they just bumped into at the gas station.

But a colleague who read that post whispered an interesting response …

People aren’t just watching friends and family any more — today’s Twitter is all about the global personalities.”

 

The instant and real-time capabilities of Twitter represent the latest and most personal effort in our ever-evolving quest to nuzzle up with the rich and famous. Where we once scanned the society page of the newspaper, tuned into gossip radio shows or glued our eyes to such hard-hitting journalism as “Access Hollywood,” we now check our Blackberrys to find out what our favorite star or athlete is up to.

 

Name brands like Lance Armstrong, Shaq and Brittany Spears offer up personal revelations, inspirational snippets and other daily tidbits — of course, all of this deeply “personal” information is interspersed with commercial messages. Spears might tweet about heading to the studio; that update would be followed by a message about the pop princess’ latest release, including a link to a purchase destination. Shaq might bemoan the officiating at the game last night while telling folks tickets are still available for tonight’s match-up with the Utah Jazz.

 

 

The political sphere has taken notice of the public’s interest. Congressmen and women are stepping up their interaction with their constituents through the service. I say interaction, but it’s really a one-way conversation. The politicos aren’t getting any feedback, just dispersing talking points and rebuttals. It’s unlikely Nancy Pelosi is concerned that Joe Schmoe of Redding, Calif., is “still stuck in traffic.”

Final Bark
I suspect more and more of America’s glamour clique will discover the relationship-building power of Twitter and saturate the service with a mixture of pseudo-personal and marketing messages. The fad will burn itself out and the Tweet bubble will burst, sifting back down to small tribes of families and friends exchanging disconnected missives about their daily lives. Eventually, we’ll move to another more tedious form of mutual observation – I can hardly wait.

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Amid one of the most important presidential addresses in the last 30 years, Congressmen and women on both sides the aisle were busy updating their Twitter messages. For those not wired into the ever-evolving world of mobile media, Twitter (http://twitter.com/) is a free social networking site through which participants answer one simple question – “What are you doing right now?” — in a myriad of agonizingly boring ways in small missives known as “tweets.”

But politicians aren’t alone in holding the misconception that people care to know what they are doing all day every day. Millions of Americans join the service each day — so many, the New York Times deemed it the most important Internet application of the last 5 years. That’s a strong statement considering the developments over that time frame.

Aside from knowing when your BBF (digital shorthand for “best friend forever”) is shopping at Wal-Mart, Twitter does have some practical uses for the masses. The Associated Press reported some newspapers are using the service to offer real time updates on widely watched trials. At least in Kansas, state judges offered no complaints and one federal judge has OK’d the service at that level.
 
Despite the relative popularity of the service — or because of it! — Twitter has spawned as much new media hate material as the big box chains. Check out this video …

 

… And the comments tagged with the videos are not much more flattering to the service or its users.

“Who are these narcissists who think we care what they are doing all day? Who are these morons who spend their lives keeping track of everyone else?”

“I don’t give a tweet about you … Why would you give a tweet about me?”

Final Bark
What do you think? Will people be tweeting long into the next year or is this just a fad destined for the same technical scrap heap as chat rooms?