It was a hot afternoon. I was finishing up a long day at work, thinking of what to make of the evening ahead of me. Get drinks with co-workers? A bike ride? Dinner with my wife? Nope, even better. I joined Twitter!
My fist tweet, like many others, was quite profound. At 5:37pm on July 19th, 2008 I valiantly tweeted, “finally gave in to Twitter.” It’s a difficult note to follow. What else could I say to follow that?
Strangely, Twitter has come up in every conversation I’ve had this week, and on several occasions, I’ve heard someone describing it to their friends as I’ve passed bye. I’ve enjoyed hearing people stumble through the silly new lexicon that surrounds Twitter. And, oh, how excited they are to be the person to enlighten their friends on this “big new thing!” (Soon to be 2 years old, Twitter is not that new.) They explain to their friends what they use it for. “I try to keep all of my tweets-” “Tweets?” “Yeah, your little twitters are called tweets. I try to keep all of my tweets about politics, but I throw things like what I’m having for dinner or, like the book I’m reading. It’s fun!”
At the time of writing, I’ve tweeted 1,253 more original notes under 140 characters, and have a whopping 115 people excited to read them. I’m kind of kidding, but really, I think people are taking it all way too seriously. We’ve become overly concerned with the number of “followers,” and we’ve started tracking who stops following us and when. Applications like Qwitter notify you when someone quits following you, and it reports it as if your last tweet was just so offensive that someone couldn’t take any more of it. This is a preposterous and unhealthy assumption, and paying attention to who stops following you is a useless waste of time and emotion.
What’s going to kill Twitter, then?
As much as I enjoy it, and as much as it has probably brought me a bit of exposure, it is being abused. It’s becoming more of a strategy and less organic. Soon it could be too much for anyone to get excited about, and it will cause terrible migraines like those of Maximillian Cohen’s in the movie Pi. As it’s used to leverage services and products of countless companies, and becomes less and less personal we will distance ourselves from it more and more. It will get louder and louder and louder until we just close our laptops and walk away.
I’ll be fine if it comes to that. Seeing people struggle over whether or not they should be personal or professional on Twitter can be down right painful to watch. If you feel uncomfortable with the application, then maybe it would be better if you didn’t use it. Certainly don’t try selling me on something through it! Your facade is transparent. People will know if you are using it just to leverage your business. Authenticity (or the lack thereof) shines through, even in 140 characters.
And what is it that we will do then?
If Twitter gets thrown in the closet with our stonewashed jeans will we just create a new online application or have that dinner with the one we love? I’ll choose the latter, because let’s face it, it takes little time to write a quip that is less than 140 characters, but keeping up with all that’s out there is a black hole. One that I am enjoying right now, but am skeptical of it’s lasting qualities if authenticity isn’t prominent.
I’m not the pessimist you think I am, really.
Now that I’ve said all of that, come follow me on Twitter. This is more of a call to save Twitter than a call for it’s demise, and I try to keep things pretty interesting. My usual topics on Twitter loosely revolve around my interests which are design, collage, typography, food, and the little adventures my wife and I go on. Good times!