They just don’t get Twitter do they ?
(NB – I’ve shifted the situation around slightly here to protect the identities of the people involved)
Some people just don’t understand Twitter. Hardly a week goes by without some MP having a swipe at Twitter and its users. The usual lines are “I don’t want to know when some total stranger has a cup of tea” ( which usually prompts Twitterers to let the world have a picture of their Marmite on toast – Twitter humour’s like that ! )
Or we get – “you can’t possibly say anything sensible in 140 characters” , which is not only untrue but misses one of the main purposes of Twitter – that of publicising blogs – where you can use as many characters as you like
Twitterers love this though, because we understand that Twitter offers such a powerful means of mass communication in ways that have never been available before. The Jan Moir episode last week was a prime example of this – Ms Moir’s comment about there being “a highly orchestrated campaign” particularly highlighting her misunderstanding – the whole point of the response was that it was entirely spontaneous – there was no orchestration.
Few twitter users would claim it was perfect though and many look forward to new and even more powerful communication tools arising out of it. We don’t also often publicise the down side – like the tendency to spread the news of celebrity deaths around the globe in seconds – when they’re still alive, or the preponderance of automated spam bots, or Britneys as they are sometimes called (if you don’t know already, you don’t want to)
The “Twitter Conversation” also tends be one that many of us have at work – where people tend to trot out the same type of stuff. Just yesterday I was in a meeting with a number of professionals from external agencies. During a break we managed to get on to talking about twitter. Amongst the usual comments that were trotted out :
“What a waste of time – they should get a life”
“What could I possibly want to know that only takes up 140 characters” – (he said 130 actually but I wouldn’t want him to appear ignorant.
“It’s just like CB radio : ‘Hello where are you ? ‘I’m here in the kitchen – where are you ?’ ‘ I’m in the living room’ “
So I countered with :
“Well how else would I get the secretary of state to read my blog ?”
A short pause.
“Well not of all of us have ego’s so big that we’d want him to”
(Hmm maybe not. I’m pretty sure my colleague has though.)
“Any way you don’t think he sends the tweets himself do you ?”
Er, yes he does actually.
Any way faced with not winning the argument, and nearing the end of the break, my colleague gave his argument ending coup de grace :
“There is absolutely nothing that could possibly be of interest or use to me that I could possibly gain from Twitter !”
Punkt. Schluss !
Except that some people he used to work with are a little more fond of twitter. And I know what he was doing last weekend, and who he was with. I also have a reasonable thumbnail of his CV and an idea of how I can expect him to work. All through twitter.
I let it pass. For he does make exceedingly good cakes !