My “The problem with Twitter” drivel

I suppose the last word in the title is a little harsh, but looking only at trends the twenty most viewed links were mostly from two years ago (arguably before Twitter became the SEO household-name it is now) and looking only at the whinges there’s a lot to be said for balanced comment about something you feel is rubbish and worth whingeing about. Except, on occasion, if you’re a “blogger”. Apparently.

Plus there will probably be more than one by the end of this article. Fact-based journalism? Pah!

Fair enough, it may be very useful to people who “make money from the Internet” (who “BTW”: are actually “making money” from the Web; you know, the more accurate but less “Market Friendly” phrase that everyone “used to use”?). That may also apply to “tweeps” who make money from actually selling stuff, but advertising (for free) what they’re selling.

From my experience it’s now almost the most recognised Social Media tool for adding reference; i.e.: spreading content around in a way the Googlebot is alleged to distrust, to a website; advertising, whingeing, or not.

Sadly, it does not feature in LifeHacker’s recent collection of – fairly – useful tips to creating ones very own website to sell stuff through.

Of course this is helped along further by whole categories of Open Source Software that “nowadays” come with a plugin / widget / insert-appropriate-noun-here “out of the box”. The software that runs this blog is no exception.

When Twitter first entered the limelight, it was believed one partner Evan Williams just plain and simple didn’t want to advertise his (co-owned) company’s possible sources of income for this, their first and only product (Williams’ previous endeavour was what is now Blogger); built on free software with free software, that it seems is still the case today.

There has been some further conjecture that Twitter’s reliability could be improved by using a more established physical technology, even though Williams would probably have insisted it too was unsuitable

In the early days the page Twitter used to show off when it was overloaded (known as error type 503) featured a cartoon in an attempt to ply their audience (refer to “The Fail Whale” for further if slightly skewed information).

However, the finger-pointing at the same site that does occur, usually along with the words “jumping” and “bandwagon”, can be summed up very well by a fellow WordPresser:

Following my article about people using Twitter to feel good about themselves, another thing has been bugging me – the fact that sane people are willing to spread rumours without first checking their validity.

This is entirely fair: I can already think of another “person on telly” who was falsely accused of death, via car accident, because what “someone” saw “on the Internet”. In case you were wondering, this is a phrase which is getting more irritating the more it is repeated. Sorry!

Dare I say the ease with which anyone can repeat, almost ad infinitum, the exact wording of someone else, at speed, is a little frightening. Fortunately, it still requires a very human impulse to use this feature; and since machines clearly can’t be relied upon to tell us where we’re acting up, we have to rely on clever programmers instead.

Further more, I can also recall an entirely real death, only last month, that was disbelieved (quite probably be programmers too) thanks to the many people who take all of what they see on a screen as factual. Sadly, the Top Tweets profile on Twitter only helped to delay the inevitable.

That of course only shows the problem with the users: Twitter itself is allegedly undergoing a change, whereby three extra characters have been added to the URL of a given profile; and Opera really really can’t get on with it. Think about the experience as with Hotmail – sorry: Windows Live Mail – at least two years ago…

I am very much hoping that it will (one day) make more use of the fairly magic HTML5 (pimp-age: Sharp and Lawson’s book is rather good for further information), but since that is set to be finished after the next Olympics, I’m guessing there’ll be piece-meal efforts at best.

From what I’ve seen of Twitter “2.0”, it has only been an improvement. The sliding panels are very nouveau script: there’s been an increase in JavaScript across the web thanks to the jolly clever Script Library; these panels are also covered in rounded corners as coveted by every designer who needs to be seen keeping up with the web-design Jones’ for the last five years.

…and why the funk is the “You can still use old twitter for a limited time” message still in force? Surely the people who care most will have started using a client (I recommend Digsby, but not their add-ons and it has just changed hands so who knows what will happen), specially since it’s much more reliable (see above), and often works much more intuitively! Arse.

I realise there is a lot less gained from hacking “Tha Twita” than say, Facebook, but that hasn’t stopped one fool from pretending to be some I like (sorry: Follow) sending me DMs suggesting an “easy way to make money”, with an attached shortlink to a page on StumbleUpon. Hmmm, methinks. Haven’t heard of any major Twitter attacks in a while, I don’t think I’ll open it. Chances are it will only contain a link going somewhere else, but I really don’t want to have to change passwords for something else again after my Hotmail account got hacked earlier this year. Sad face. Such is the way for people who spend a lot of time in front of a screen. Or at least it perhaps should be!

It shows there is still (somewhere) money to be made from pretending to be someone else, even if it is just to send really badly worded messages to people who statistically speaking will probably know better. I know someone else who, but earlier this month, received such messages from the “Secretary-General of the United Nations”. A nice thought, and I would love to see the recipient end up at the UN, but sadly it’s probably not true…

A note from ProofPoint about the year’s expectations: www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=468265679423.

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About Nick

Professional bureaucrat, ex-KUSECWB, graduate & techie-monsta / computer-wrangler; at your service.

3 responses to “My “The problem with Twitter” drivel”

  1. Nick says :

    Having found the marvellous Jonathon Lister talking about Maemo, he has also written a bloody good “walkthrough” describing how one can make use of “Saas” to build one’s very own DIY TwitPic:
    http://jaybyjayfresh.com/2009/07/30/how-to-build-a-diy-twitpic-without-any-coding-skillz/

  2. boingster says :

    Wow – my first pingback. Humbling.

    I think you’re way more structured in you deconstruction of Twitter than my “people are dumb” argument.

    I do wonder about the financials behind Twitter… FB seem to be starting to get it right, but does anyone make monye from Twitter other than scammers?

    • Nick says :

      You’re meant to add “…and Google” to that list! Mind you that could technically be said about anything that’s “noticeable” these days…
      Another thing to add about Twitter: I believe they aren’t yet making money; however Facebook definitely is (now).
      Thanks for the comment anyway: I believe you’re my first organic feedback!

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