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.

twitter-trends

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?