I was an early adopter of Twitter. "How early?", you ask? Early enough to get DanWilson as my Twitter handle. Trust me, that is pretty darned early.
I used Twitter at first to keep up with the swarm at conferences. Many impromptu meetings, dinners, deals were organized over Twitter. When a particular conference ended, I'd turn off twitter notifications. Who needs the mobile going off every time someone posts "I'm waiting at a stop light" or "I like cashmere socks"... I'm sure you'll agree.
Twitter caught on. In a big way. Pretty much all large companies have Twitter accounts and social media strategies. This is just the evolution of the times I suppose. In spite of all of the growth, for me, Twitter is on the verge of jumping the shark.
Conceptually, Twitter is interesting. Hearkening back to the early days of impromptu organization and spontaneous meetings ("Hey @whatever likes cashmere socks also! FTW!!1BBQ), Twitter was a communications mechanism. If you wanted to get the word out, just tweet it and those in the know, would know. These days, as a communications mechanism, Twitter is pretty close to a failure.
There was a point last year where I finally declared Twitter Bankruptcy. I was using a Twitter client while I worked, but the distraction was just too great. These days, I have a Twitter client running on a spare computer and I check it whenever I go downstairs to fill my water glass. This has made Twitter manageable for me, and allowed me to stay highly productive. I wouldn't work with a Twitter client open. I couldn't.
I'm not alone. There is a growing tide of folks who are losing interest in Twitter. Let's look at why.
1 -NoiseTwitter is a noise place. A constant barage of status updates plagues even the casual Twitter user. I only follow 258 people, and those people are generally pretty good, but still the signal to noise ratio is pretty poor.
2- Message LengthOne of the strengths of Twitter in the early days was the 140 character message limit. This coincides nicely with the SMS limit and allows Twitter to work in the Mobile space, which is really the reason for all the growth. You never have to be away from Twitter , as long as you can get a Mobile and press 40404. However, these days, people use Twitter to convey information that does not translate over to 140 characters. Worse, many people seek/expect technical help over Twitter. This is flat out stupid. Moreover, the amount of blogging significantly diminished. Writers get their fix by tweeting, but this is a loss for humanity as a whole. I'm much more likely to get interesting information from a blog post, than from a tweet. I'm much more likely to FIND a blog post, than find a tweet.
3- Noise AgainMany people use Twitter to broadcast important information. The act of tweeting can give the tweeter a sense of having communicated effectively. On the receiving end, however, the sheer volume of messages flying by means that many messages never reach intended recipients. If a message falls in Twitter and no one reads it, did it really make a noise? Part of being a responsible communicator is ensuring your message was received. Tweeting requires little energy, little friction, but also is valued very little.
4- Public IM NetworkIn Twitterese, the @ sign indicates a reply to another person on Twitter. If I see a message @DanWilson, I know someone is replying directly to me. While this helps me find a directed message amongst the noise, it pollutes the informational flow for the other followers of the replier. Twitter is not an IM network. Twitter users who are constantly @replying to others might do well to realize that all of the other followers get the same message and could really care less.
5- SpamSpam is everywhere. Now it is on Twitter. However, rather than some Nigerian Scammer offering you millions, or some Far East V1agra email blasting campaign, it is your friends who spam you for the chance to win a MacBookPro, an iPhone or to get a new animal in Farmville. I liked spam better when I hated the spammer. By the way, I just ousted the winner of euromillions lottery by winning a Mac Book Pro in a v1agra farmville contest. Please RT.
So, Twitter, I can see you now, ski rope in your hands, flexing your legs and getting ready to launch over a large, toothed marine animal. I can't say I'll be sorry to see you go.
P.S. If anyone out there thinks I'm full of crap, and that Twitter is going to be HUGE, I'll sell you @DanWilson. Contact me off list.