April 29, 2009

Twitter - I'm not getting suckered again

Yes, I have a Twitter account (Seth Finkelstein). But today's hot item Twitter Quitters Post Roadblock to Long-Term Growth is a good hook to write a post on why I'm not playing that lottery game again.

"But despite the hockey-stick growth chart, Twitter faces an uphill battle in making sure these flocks of new users are enticed to return to the nest."

I understand why the BigHeads love being Twits. Which is exactly why I don't like it at all. That is, Twitter is the distilled essence of top-down, broadcast, pontification, of a small group of large egos thinking their blatherings are vital communication. It's worse than blogs. At least with a blog, you can pretend that you're writing something intellectually important, that someone somewhere might care (that's almost always false, but there's just the tiniest kernel of truth in it to support the delusion). With Twitter, there's a reason the evangelists hype breaking news and link-flogging - because that's about the only thing you can do in 140 characters which is other than trivia.

The "A-list" aspects are spectacularly blatant - due to "power law" effects, there's a tiny number of people with a huge number of followers (note that terminology!), and everyone else - well, little Z-lister, squeaking at the bottom of that very steep curve, isn't it enough for you to chat with your friends?

It's the same story as blog-evangelism - the hucksters switching their argument back and forth between diary/chat and journalism, the elite group of attention-dominants "conversing" among themselves while everyone else is their audience, the you-could-be-a-star selling of dreams and celebrity.

I'm not going to play that game again - of following (!) the BigHeads, trying to get an audience, all the while wasting time and effort so a start-up can monetize it (in an extremely inefficient way). It's enough being suckered once.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on April 29, 2009 10:21 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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But but I just twattering last week.... and I have 6 whole followers!! You telling me this is bunk :-)

Word. Its funny to play w and watch the "bigheads" It is fascinating to watch the culture of techno-alphas.

Little bit more hip on the blogs tho. Heck, I read this one!

Posted by: Robert Cannon at April 29, 2009 12:15 PM


Heaven help me, I’ve just tweeted about this blog post. Surely this guy (http://snurl.com/h3fqo) would accuse you of the most unpardonable of sins, not “getting it,” though your occasional interlocutor McHenry (http://snurl.com/h3fz4) would tell you not to listen to him. LOL, as you kids say.


Posted by: Tom Panelas at April 30, 2009 01:26 PM


i love it when i get directed to your blog.
every time i love it. so i've subscribed...

> Twitter is the distilled essence of
> top-down, broadcast, pontification

the good news is that, as the essence,
it's the last trip of the merry-go-round.

once twitter runs out of steam, as it will,
it won't be possible for "the broadcasters"
to sell us the bullshit in a new container...

well, i guess they could do it as haiku,
but that might be worth listening to... ;+)


Posted by: bowerbird at May 2, 2009 08:41 PM

...I genuinely don't get your attitude to the Bigheads. I think you're right about them, about what they're getting out of it and how celebrity plays into it; what I don't get is why you (or anyone else) ever aspired to that status or expected to get it.

I honestly think it's a difference between the male-dominated part of the blogosphere and the women's blogosphere; in the latter, rather than being told you can be a star you're told you can be part of a community, which is an equal degree of bullshit but a very different one, one which maybe sets you up for less ego-brusing - and conversely means the blogosphere has never truly let me down. I like reading blogs. Sometimes I like writing in my own. It's just a platform, to me, not a race to the top, and I don't understand why you're so bitter.

Posted by: Thene at May 3, 2009 03:13 PM

Your recent post directed my to Carr's article, which is almost 3 years old, and I followed up reading several of the older links that you had in the comments.

Hierarchies built not on merit but popularity, or even some random element, seem to the focus of your concerns.

Could you post some links regarding your thoughts about why these structures exist?

Posted by: michael webster at June 2, 2009 10:11 AM

i've got over 100 people following me and I don't update.. what's wrong with everyone? do they have nothing better to do?

Posted by: matt_e at June 12, 2009 09:29 AM