Twitter – I’m torn.

The title says it all really, I have two contrasting views on Twitter.

First up it’s fun and possibly useful, of that there is no doubt. Chris Brogan summed it up recently on the blog.

  • You can research things rapidly.
  • “Everything” is happening on Twitter first – so can you afford to be not in on things?
  • Friendsourcing
  • Micro-Attention-Sharing
  • Direct People to Good Causes (This I like very much)
  • Yep – you can keep in touch with people – “what are you doing?”

The downside is the sheer “noise” both literal and metaphorical. When I am working I usually have music playing quietly on iTunes or Spotify and the distraction of new messages arriving is a test of my tolerance – so I turn Tweetdeck (other applications are available) off and frequently forget to turn it back on again – so it’s obvious I don’t miss it. But, & it’s a big but, when I do have it turned on I’m drawn in.

I do tend to retweet others’ postings a lot, possibly because there’s a feeling of “I do wish I had said that”, and it’s my way of proving George Bernard Shaw correct when he responded to Oscar Wilde “You will, Oscar, you will.” Actually my reason for re-tweeting is the reason that I will carry mentions of most things events, courses, services on my blog and newsletter (even for other coaches with rarely a quid pro quo – if you’re reading, you know who you are); it’s to share information etc that I consider to be useful.

But it’s the sheer volume of posts that I can’t handle, I want to keep reading, “is there something that I might have missed?” It might be better if there were only the 140 symbols available, so that website addresses couldn’t be included. When a tweet carries a link to a website or a blog posting I can end up “losing” an hour or more as I follow down the leafy lanes of cyperspace losing myself in copses and thickets and jumping fences into new fields.

The other element I don’t grasp is why do so many people want to follow me? What does an executive in North Dakota find so blooming fascinating about what I might have to say? Does he really think he’s going to be able to sell me something? Apparently most people (unlike Stephen Fry & other twitteratti) follow about the same number who follow them, in my case it’s 291 to 326, which presumably means that a lot of the people who started by following me, & with whom I didn’t reciprocate, have dropped away – shame on you for such good sense.

Then there’s the people who just want to sell me something, anything, everything; over and over and over again. To them I apply the wonderful phrase that I learnt from Karen Skidmore “Vuvuzela Marketing”

Finally it struck me earlier today what I really don’t like about Twitter, I was catching up on some blogs and I came across Hugh MacLeod’s “gaping void” cartoon from July 21st. Incidentally if you don’t follow Hugh then you really ought to, I don’t know if he tweets, but his cartoons are just brilliant. His website is here

What Twitter represents far too much to me is in this cartoon.


One Response

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kevin Rose and Alun Rees, Old Mac Donald. Old Mac Donald said: Twitter – I'm torn. | Alun Rees: The title says it all really, I have two contrasting views on Twitter. First up i… […]


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