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Twitter isn’t Jesus

Twitter is not the savior of the human race, nor will Twitter save the environment. Twitter is actually an exceptionally “feature-lite” micro-blogging tool that gets far more press and praise than it really deserves…

Twitter is not the savior of the human race, nor will Twitter save the environment. Twitter is actually an exceptionally “feature-lite” micro-blogging tool that gets far more press and praise than it really deserves…

In essence, Twitter is little more than the educated half-cousin of the status update option in Facebook. But even within such an apparently limited remit, Twitter has its merit-worthy moments.

So when M.G. Siegler talked up the idea of Twitter being used a tool for political debate, I could barely withhold my contempt.

I’m not slighting him, because on the face of it — and quite apart from specifics of micro-blogging platforms — he’s offering up a fair idea.

But this is exactly the kind of infectious mania that people are being swept up by — Twitter as a cure for AIDS, a declaration for world peace and a method of relieving trapped wind, among other pending claims, I’m sure.

I know! Why don’t we write out the acceptance speech of the next president of the United States of America on the back of a match box? No wait, let’s send the entire Library of Congress as SMS text Twitterings to each other?

Unless we really want to push serious political debate into the ghetto of sound-bite hell that is the character limit of Twitter, then yeah .. go for it!

Otherwise, let’s use a proper micro-blogging platform like Pownce, where you can do really weird stuff like reply to comments.

Imagine that. What a novelty that would be…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

6 replies on “Twitter isn’t Jesus”

So … Twitter won’t allow me to walk again? Damn you Twitter … DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!!

*ahem*

Seriously, though, I held off from trying Twitter until a lot of the furore died down and, while it’s nice, it’s not exactly fantastic. See: I’m agreeing with you again!

Here, Here! I finally signed up for Twitter a few weeks ago and don’t see much of the point. But that’s because I tend to be long-winded and feel stifled by 140 characters. I’m more interested in discussion than quick updates.

That said, Twitter works fine for tiny tweets. I saw a video recently where a security specialist suggested it as a good way to communicate during a disaster. (Makes sure all friends and family are on Twitter, if something happens everyone can quickly post that they are OK rather than trying to call one another when the mobile networks are jammed.)

I think the problem is that because Twitter is good at what it does, people think it should be good for other things as well. Alas, it’s not. That’s not how the world works. My VW is good at driving about town, but that doesn’t mean it would be good for traveling woodland nature trails. For those one should use a bicycle or one’s feet.

It’s a matter of picking the best tool for the job rather than trying to make the job fit the tool. For discussion, political or otherwise, we could accomplish far more with Pownce.

I agree with you – Twitter isn’t Jesus. It’s still a communication platform to inform, educate, entertain and warn. It is not a one-way broadcasting ‘service’. Whether the audience use the info to their benefit or detriment is another matter.

If Twitter wasn’t a “bird”, what animal do you think its ambassador will be I wonder? The other day I asked ppl what they think Twitter would drive. I had an answer from just 1 Twitterer: a Rover! haha

I hope Twitter does not charge too much WHEN they start charging!

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