Why Twitter is Evil

March 20, 2009 / Opinion, Social Media / 11 Comments

Ever since I downloaded TwitterFox, I’ve become hopelessly addicted to Twitter…to the detriment of my blog.

It’s become so easy to post my opinions and internet finds with 140 characters that writing 400 worded posts has come to be too cumbersome to write. It’s become so easy to hear what others have to say in 140 characters, that reading a 400 worded post has come to be too cumbersome to read.

So sometimes, I wonder this extreme speed in information exchange is that great for us.

Why Twitter is Great

One one hand, this speed allows us to:

Spread vital info virally

Can you imagine how useful this would be in times of disasters? We no longer have to wait for CNN for the latest war or natural disaster. A quick glance at the Twitter Trends, or your followers’ tweets would show you that world’s headlines of the day. You’ll likely even be able to some first hand accounts.


Create a sphere of influence in no time

Anyone who has been around the blogging world long enough would understand how much time and effort is needed to create the clout and credibility needed to be seen as a influential source of (niche) information. With Twitter, all you need is to seek out the best information written by established bloggers and then tweet the links – and ta-da! You’ll have instant clout and influence.

Network with like-minded individuals like a social butterfly

Relationships between bloggers tend to take a long time to establish. How many comments must you leave, how many emails must you send, to “feel” that you have remotely established some ties with a fellow blogger? With Tweep “Twitter People”, the connection is almost instantaneous. All it takes is a few RTs “re-tweets”, @ replies and D “direct messages” for you to take notice of or be noticed by a fellow Tweep.

Why Twitter is Evil

On the other hand, I sometimes feel that all this speed and effortless dissemination of information contribute to a sort of degeneration of the internet. (Or the human mind perhaps?)

Lack of depth, dying breed of expertise

There is only so much you can say with 140 characters. The information you spread or read can’t possibly be as insightful as a blog entry or a journal article. In short, information gets watered down. Misunderstandings could occur. People would spend less time reading into certain topics, because there’s just so much going on around them.

Yes, short is sweet, but at the end of the day, we still need our niche experts. If everyone jumps on the Twitter bandwagon, we serve to lose the experts or potential experts who could’ve shared their wealth of information on a 1000 worded blog post.

Forgotten accountability

When you can express yourself in less than 10 seconds, you would often forget to think about the consequences of your messages.

My blog entries typically take a few hours to write. I would write a draft, review it, do a quick grammar and spell check. In those hours, I would have definitely considered the consequences of my messages.
Would my audience stand to gain anything from my post? Would any few group my particularly offended?

Yet, with my Tweets I admit that I often write on impulse. Out of frustration or anger, I have said a few things that could’ve and would’ve stepped on more than a few toes.

Decreased productivity

I only follow around 100+ people, and I’m already quite inundated by their tweets. I get almost 200 tweets per day; and I actually read every single one of them.. Talk about OCD. By time I read, RT, @reply to everything interesting, I realized I lost so much precious time and energy that could’ve been used for writing a helpful blog entry, replying to email or commenting on more blogs.

With that said, I still love the instant-ness of Twitter. It allows someone with a busy schedule like me to still have a voice on the internet. At the same time, I feel that I’ve lost a lot of substance, while perpetually writing and reading at this pace. There’s just not enough time to process and digest all the info.

I just feel that I might’ve grown dumber at the rate information is circulating around me.

What do you think about Twitter? How do you use Twitter? Do you feel that it has taken a lot of time away? Do you feel you put less thought into your messages with Twitter? Do you think Twitter is making you dumber?

  • Wow! You ended with so many questions! That’s a call for a blog post reply since 140char is not enough!

    i heart twitter too!

  • Go Twitter! LOL

  • For me, I use Twitter for all the small things. Interesting stuff that I see around me that would be too short to be written as a blog entry. But you’re right. I tend to tweet without thinking twice, unlike writing a blog. But I feel there’s more socialising in Twitter than in blogs.

  • Liz

    I agree with many of your points, although I have to say I like Twitter. I think it works really well as a compliment to blogging

    1. because it’s a way to talk about the interesting things you come across that don’t merit a blog post

    2. because it seems easier somehow to find people who are interested in the same things, I guess because it makes it easier to follow the links – you can see who the people you follow are following, and chances are you will find some of them interesting too

    I do feel a bit overloaded with all the Tweets sometimes (and I don’t read all mine – shame on me!!) but that’s not just Twitter.. Like there’s so much information out there that you either ignore most of it or end up not processing, like you say. I usually just switch off the computer at that point πŸ™‚

  • Now, we ‘see’ your pain but I thought this article was hilarious. ;p

    Before TweetDeck came along.. it was a killer to suppress the noise (when you’re following alot of tweeps), let alone finding time to read the interesting ones.

    With TweetDeck, I essentially divide the tweeps I followed into groups. So, in anytime I’d like to read tweets on say, Social Media, I make a quick scan in that group.

    LIZ is right on point number 2. Follow people whom you feel shares the same interests or else, you’ll be following alot of noise instead.

    With apps like Twitter & Friendfeed, I found more infos relevant to my interest in addition to RSS feeds. That actually made me use delicious bookmarking more often than before.

  • Ivy

    @Jonathan Kong: Yups, every tweep I follow, I like or share common interests with. But that list is growing and that’s why I’m starting to get inundated.

    Likewise, I’ve been use Delicious more than because of the amount good tweets out there.

    What I’m trying to point out is that Twitter is great for delivering large volumes of info – the breadth so to speak. But following that breadth takes time away from us, which could be used to research into one specific topic to get the depth of the info and share it. So info spread on Twitter tend to get more watered down compared to the info that are spread on blogs (which usually takes a lot more expertise and a lot more research to write).

    I use TwitterFox, so I don’t get the groups feature. So I either read everything or nothing. Perhaps that’s why it’s more of a pain for me. TweetDeck is great, but I’m on Firefox 99% of the time, so TwitterFox actually suits me a little better.

  • I just joined this past week. Figure I’d put my unlimited text messaging to use. Gives me something to do when I’m really bored *shrugs*
    My future sister in-law has a twitter account, so it’s been nice to be able to talk to her more, but otherwise I don’t find it all that fascinating.

  • I have only follow about 30+ people and I can get about 100+ tweets per day. I scan through all of them though. I use twitter mainly for short updates and thoughts that I couldn’t expressed into a single blog post. I do tend to have lesser blog entries when I’m using Twitter. But I find that Twitter actually reduces the probability of a random post because all the small random bits are already posted on my Twitter. I do not post them again into my blog and therefore the blog entry is more focus on a particular topic or event. πŸ˜‰

  • havent became a twitter fan don’t think this is a wagon i’ll be jumping on. Dont know why but it really doesn’t interest me like it does others. cute site though

  • Nettiei

    Hey Ivy ^___^. Nettiei here again. Its been such a long time. Hehe. I need to bookmark your blog so I can keep up with you!!! I just thought about you because I was listening to Se7en’s Honey I Know the other day and I was like IVY HAD THAT ON HER SITE (officially introducing me to Kpop ^__^)! What do you think about his single Girls? Its okay. Anyway, look foward to hearing from you.

    <3 Miss Toni

    PS: Ill probably post as Miss Toni for now on. Nettiei is super old.. XD

  • Ivy

    @Nettiei: Nettiei!! It really has been a while!! How you been?

    I will try not to move so much anymore. And I’m actually quite attached to the moniker “nanyate” so I might stay put for a while. LOL!

    I miss having a music player on my site. Radio.Blog didn’t seem to be functioning anymore. Maybe I should add an IMEEM playlist instead. πŸ˜€

    “Girls” wasn’t too bad. The lyrics aren’t particularly tasteful, but I guess he’s trying to appeal to the American audience. The music video was pretty good though! What did you think?

    Alright, will remember you as Miss Toni from now!!

    Take care!!