Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Twitter - Is It Time to Quit?

First there were the spammers, now there are the bores.

If you think that quite a polemical statement, hear me out. WWhen I first started on Twitter, it was like a new world opening up. The Social Media World. I suddenly had access to ideas, concepts, people, blogs and unprecedented creativity. In my first 6 months on Twitter I joined two campaigns, uncovered a spy (no, really!) got two job offers, took part in a collaborative history project, wrote articles for an e-paper, and was generally overawed how Twitter could actively and tangibly change my life.

Maybe I didn't look too closely, or it all happened very stealthiliy.. but it all seems very different now. Has Twitter reverted to type? Is it becoming a catchment area for the terminally bored? Foursquare messages abound, evenings seem to be taken up by chatroom-like conversations with feeble jokes about too much alcohol and page-long farewells "Nite Nite R", "Sleep tight Hon", "Dont let the bed bugs bite xx" and so on and so on until it's time to start all over again in this tedious and pointless routine.

Social Media? Don't kid yourself! Turf wars, pettily observed rules "I will only RT their blog post if they RT mine" spoil the concept and take the fun out of it. Some people get book deals or other publicity through Twitter - this is then cattily discussed and dissected "That's only because..." All very undignified and more akin to office politics then the big wide world of a new web generation!
My personal disenchantment became tangible when a middle-aged matron started jealously policing my access to her partner - someone I'd so far considered my social media guide. Another strand cut off. The whole thing is now more like a scene from a suburban meantown rather than a multi-lateral engagement platform.

Maybe it's me,maybe it's come full-cirlcle. Maybe it's time to quit, and look elsewhere for those once so prevalent creative impulse. Cause one thing's for sure -I don't want to be part of a jealous chatroom crowd.


  1. All I can say Margit is "hear hear", but then maybe I'm not a typical Twitterer. I joined because of my old friendship with Janis and a desire to help Gary. Through her I met you and found your contributions interesting and informative, with a good dose of humour,and you persuaded me never to visit Edinburgh! I follow noone else and my only "friends" are family who never come on here anyway. I will stay because of Gary, but for no other reason. Interestingly I left Facebook for similar reasons although I do maintain a page there. If you do decide to quit I suggest you keep this blog's always thought-provoking.

  2. Margit, I have to admit being a lot busier lately I have not had time to tweet or blog, I am not missing it either, not as much as I should be.
    I do however really like a lot of the people that I have met through this media, and like you it opened up a whole new world to me.

    Living where I do social networking keeps me in touch with the world, Facebook which I became bored of is my home page, now that I am too busy for all it is funnily enough it is the one that I use the most, as people can message me there and know that I will get it as my mobile signal is non existent and i am notoriously useless at answering the landline phone. xx

  3. John, Ruth - both poignant,kind and helpful comments. Think think....

  4. On the other hand, if it had not been for twitter Sue would not have visited me a couple of weeks ago -all the way from Vancouver to Germany. And I would not go visiting twitter friends in DC, NYC, Vicksburg Virginia, Kentucky (three friends in Kentucky!!!), Atlanta Georgia, Birmingham Alabama, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancoucer (sic Sue), Minneapolis and Chicago next summer..... and I'm sure I've left out a few who will now cry in outrage at being left out. All these people I met on twitter, and over the past two years real friendships have developed. We talk on the phone, we exchange Christmas and birthday gifts and write snail mail letters, and most of the US side tweeps have also met in the mean time. Now they are waiting for me to go over.
    I say, Twitter opened the world for me.
    PS: Just got an invite to Australia.

  5. Goodness, quite impressive what you did in those first six months. Uncovered a spy?! That must be some exciting story. :) And job offers? That's wonderful, too.

    For me, so far, Twitter remains an interesting place where I "met" people from all around the world, like Mariam has said is the case for her.

    I stay away from chatroom politics and turf wars, and from those many people who use Twitter mainly as a place to tout their stuff and never interact with their followers.

    But I understand exactly what you're saying. I've been on Twitter for one year and it certainly isn't what it was when I first stepped foot here.

    Lots of thinking does need to be made.

  6. Mariam, thank you for a very timely rectifying comment! That is certainly an aspect of Twitter I didn't mention (maybe because nobody's invited me to Kentucky yet...?)

    And yes, Marisa, staying away from "chatroom politics", now that is certainly good advice which I shall bear in mind! I will tell you about the spy story, it was quite something!

  7. Well, I hope you won't quit! Any open service will inevitably attract time-wasters along with more interesting folk. I'm still impressed with how Twitter has brought me into contact with fascinating and kind people. Some arseholes too, to be sure, but then I have some of those in my real life!

    And I've really enjoyed meeting some Twitter friends in person. So, on balance, a good thing. But I do sometimes worry about how much of my time I allow it to absorb...