Twits, Tweets, and Fail Whales

by anna on August 20, 2008

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Hey everybody, don’t forget to put your entries in for the inaugural ABDPBT Sucky Sweepstakes. Yeah, that’s right, I’m telling you that you have more time, you know why? Because I live on the West Coast, and it’s only 7:25 am here! So you have another two to two and a half hours. Good luck!
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There’s an article about Twitter in Business Week this morning. In a nutshell, it argues that Twitter’s financial prowess is more limited than people had hoped, basically because all the “connections” you make with people on it are not equal. Therefore, it’s efficacy as a marketing tool is questionable. From the article:

But [Metcalfe's Law] doesn’t apply to Twitter. The explanation why comes from two fellows named Zipf and Dunbar. Back in 1935, linguist George Zipf noticed that words in the English language are used in an interesting pattern. “The” is spoken most commonly, making up 7% of all utterances; “of” is the second-most common word, used exactly one-half as often as “the”…and the pattern continues with the 100th word in popularity being used only 1/100th as often. Zipf’s Law suggests that each subsequent thing in any series (such as your Twitter contacts) has predictable diminishing value. Your spouse is more important than your best friend, who outranks your boss, colleague, and that guy you met on a plane from Chicago. Inside the 2.3 million-strong Twitter network, not all connections are equal, and some will never be used at all. You will probably never send tweets to ice skaters in Finland.

Point taken. However, a larger problem with the hopes for meteoric advertising success of Twitter, IMO, is the dipwads who use it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I use it–but I started doing so because it apparently is a networking tool for bloggers that is key to spreading your popularity. (BTW I have not really gotten any more users via Twitter that I know of, but I’m still waiting). After I started using it, I noted that it’s great for one liners that come up during the day–things that aren’t really worthy of a whole blog post, but are funny anyway and you want to keep a record of them.

So, yeah, I have a “tweets” section on my blog, but I’m pretty skeptical of the service in general. Why? Not because I think all connections aren’t equal–of course they’re not, duh–it’s because MOST PEOPLE HAVE NOTHING INTERESTING TO SAY. And I’m not going to listen to somebody who has nothing interesting to say, whether they are talking about lipgloss or their husband’s unemployment.

{ 9 comments }

shonda August 20, 2008 at 9:28 am

That’s exactly why I started using Twitter as well. And, I have a confession, I don’t really understand it. It’s like a whole other language or something.

anna August 20, 2008 at 9:33 am

Yeah, and that language? Retard.

Signed,
Not Bothering with Political Correctness Today

J. August 20, 2008 at 11:21 am

Twitter interests me, mostly because of the one-liner aspect, but I’m not really into texting, and I’m lazy. For me, it’s window shopping, I’ll look, but I’m probably not going to buy.

PauvrePlume August 20, 2008 at 9:52 pm

I’d never even heard of Twitter until I saw it on your blog (does that make me totally clueless, or only semi-clueless?). I actually just Googled it because I had no clue what it did, though I guessed it was some type of instant messaging thingy. So of course I resorted to the Wikipedia definition… which basically leads me to believe that it’s just a locus for those annoying “status” messages that people put up on their Facebook profiles? which I think is lame in itself because, for real, I do not care that people just went for a walk or are making dinner or are picking their monster-sized A-hole. And the fact that people THINK I should care is kind of offensive and downright delusional.

Note: Anna, I’m not saying YOU are one of these lame-Os, because obviously you have a strategy in using it and you are hilarious with your one-liners, etc.. But the sad truth, like you said, is that the majority of the users are just totally freakin’ brain-dead (<-slightly more PC? haha).

Just thought I’d share. NOT THAT YOU SHOULD CARE! :)

anna August 21, 2008 at 9:26 am

Twitter is kind of like that feature on Facebook, yeah, but it has a more community aspect to it, because you can see who is following other people, and who they are following, and–with some exceptions–you can eavesdrop into a bunch of different conversations if you want. It’s kind of like Facebook plus IM plus a public chatroom. People use it, from what I can tell, to keep tabs on each other and what’s going on in the blogosphere. Some people use it to promote their own blogs as well.

One thing that is interesting about it is the tendency of people to passive aggressively tweet at each other, like somebody will tweet something like “I don’t like public pronouncements of self-importance.” And then everyone rushes around to figure out who their talking about. It’s kind of high school, but I like to watch the drama. DANCE, PUPPET, DANCE!

anna August 21, 2008 at 9:27 am

There are certain tweeters who are kind of known for the passive aggressive tweet.

Kind of makes me feel like I’m getting a behind-the-scenes view, I guess.

PauvrePlume August 21, 2008 at 10:22 am

Hmm…okay, I think I get it now. Kinda. I’m not the most technologically aware chick out there, so it takes me a while… :) But thank you so much for the attempt at making a techie-illiterate person understand the Twitter-tweet-twit (I’m doing my best not to be obscene and say rhymes-with-squat. haha).

So, like, should I join? Does it make sense to join if you don’t even really know anyone else on it? Because apparently my friends are equally as T-I as I am, so no one’s on it… Do you really think it could bring more blog traffic? Do you like how I use you as my web counselor?
:)

anna August 21, 2008 at 10:28 am

I don’t think I have any more traffic because of Twitter, and I don’t have a bunch of followers. I have some, though, many of whom I know are readers/commentators here, and then others who reside in shadowy mystery. I do like to keep tabs on people, it makes me feel like I know more about what is going on . . . I cannot see myself ever really getting into some of the conversations back and forth–but then, I never thought I could do that with message boarding and we all know how that turned out.

But yeah, none of my RL friends are on it. Oh wait, I don’t have any RL friends.

anna August 21, 2008 at 10:29 am

I keep hoping that one of the shadowy mystery people will end up being one of the people who write nasty hatemongering blogs. When I get featured on a hatemongering blog, well, then, I’ll know I’ve arrived.

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