Although my views against Twitter, are not as strong as those of the legal eagle for the BNP, Lee John Barnes (LLB Hons), I have felt little desire to partake of this human interaction replacement service.
The word on the street remains that Twitter was used to great effect during the popular protests following the recent Iranian elections. From the beginning, I doubted this very much and assumed it had simply slipped by the attention of the still primitive Iranian state cyber-security; and that China would have counter measures in place.
Alternatively, as I recounted of a broadcast of Nightwaves, there may have been honey-traps in operation.
Also unlike Barnesey (LLB Hons), I do not channel any misanthropic rage against Twitter through the medium of blogging.
I quite enjoy blogging. In addition to also using Facebook, I have recently found Interpals, which I suspect is powered by the former. The principle difference between these two social ecological systems is that Facebook requires introduction before one is able to enter another’s virtual space, whilst Interpals user profiles are freely accessible (unless stipulated) and one can introduce oneself or simply stand outside looking in on other’s virtual spaces.
Both provide functions which the other does not, and neither are diminished for that. In some cases, I have progressed from individuals ‘met’ on Interpals to their sandbagged spaces on Facebook.
An observation on Twitter by George Seimens appeared on the blogstream for Efrafan Days:
I’m not very active on my Twitter account (maybe a few posts a day with many skipped days in between). I have found, though, that Twitter is far more about relationships than about content. Twitter is about conversations that vaporize rather quickly. When I access Twitter, I’m not too concerned about conversations that went on before (”before” defined as anything more than 5 minutes ago). I jump in to catch a bit of a stream, share a thought/link. A relationship does exist between time on Twitter and how productive I feel: more time, less productive. Twitter can help a person become aware of new technologies and information, but for depth of learning (reflection, thinking, writing – i.e. getting past “what it is” and moving to “what it means”) Twitter is limited.
In one of those “so I turned to her, and she turned to me, and I turned to her… and soon we were going around in circles” moments, Seimens refers to other blog missives and quotes from missives which they referred to; so I *think* I am getting this correct.
Robert Scoble bemoaned of Twitter:
On April 19th, 2009 I asked about Mountain Bikes once on Twitter. Hundreds of people answered on both Twitter and FriendFeed. On Twitter? Try to bundle up all the answers and post them here in my comments. You can’t. They are effectively gone forever. All that knowledge is inaccessible. Yes, the FriendFeed thread remains, but it only contains answers that were done on FriendFeed and in that thread. There were others, but those other answers are now gone and can’t be found.
I am not familiar with FriendFeed, but I concur about Twitter: that it represents bursts of consciousness, which are then lost across the Asphodel. Established bloggers have, I know, put it to good use by linking to choice bits, but a 140 characters limit does not lend itself to explaining oneself from scratch.
For recreational users, I cannot see it doing much more, as I said the last time, of informing the reader of what colour socks one is wearing that day (I am again not wearing any).
The Green Chameleon goes on to bemoan Scoble:
This is not exactly the same idea as the theme in this post, because a lot of what bothers him can be solved technically. But there is evidence that faster, easier, access to current awareness broadens our absorption of the present and thins out our access to the past. Simply put, too much of now means less and less memory.
Surely, if these technical shortcomings were overcome, it would cease to be Twitter? I recall during the Nightwaves broadcast I mentioned above, the use of a head-mounted video-cam was discussed in which, after reviewing seemingly minor events in footage from the day, users were recounting emotions and observations which they would otherwise have forgotten entirely.
In discussing Facebook, this broadcast also suggested that the growth of such social networking websites is due to a psychological desire to be back around the camp-fire, sharing stories. An instance of a shared photograph was cited, in which a bouquet toss at a wedding from many years ago showed: a) a forlorn looking young man standing at the side; b) one woman actively running away.
Through Facebook discussion, it was revealed by the (formerly) young man that he had been hoping his girlfriend, to whom he wished to propose, would catch the bouquet; and that the fleeing woman was already married, and did not wish to ‘spoil’ the luck of any unmarried woman. Thus, an incomplete memory was filled in, which I thought was all rather lovely.
But, as David Cameron said, the spontaneity of Twitter could lend itself to embarrassing utterances (and, no, saying twat on talk radio does not count). I know I have made many comments in everyday speech which I would not wish to be achieved, as the Green Chameleon seemed to hope for.