The Purpose (or Lack Thereof) of Twitter

Flash back to 2007/2008. Your spouse comes home from work and says a colleague wants to get a following going on this new type of computer application called Twitter. He says you can message someone up to 140 characters. My question is: Why don’t you pick up the phone? He says that you can communicate with several people. My next question is: Why don’t you just email to a group of people? He has no answer. So, we are two people that never saw the purpose of using Twitter. It’s bad enough that people can take your email the wrong way or your Facebook post the wrong way, but limiting a message to 140 (now 280) characters, is only a recipe to bring out the worst in people. If you are not an articulate writer, then one tweet can unleash a barrage of negative responses if the tweet is taken the wrong way. So, what’s the purpose when you have alternatives? Even Twitter couldn’t describe its purpose for many years except that it was a form of microblogging. A person could tweet short messages to the universe hoping that someone finds the message useful and interesting. To me, that was not a purpose that would entice me to use the application.

However, over the years, Twitter has evolved. The word “hashtag” has virtually replaced the words “pound sign.” Twitter is not only used to give bursts of short messages to people, but now you can “follow” several news feeds, entertainment feeds, etc., to get your daily dose of information rather than buying a newspaper or magazine. With one look at your smart phone, you can keep an eye on trends, news, and even provide your opinion. This saves time but misses the point of really focusing in on the article you are reading.

I remember the days of when I would spend Sunday mornings, lazing around the house, drinking my coffee and reading through my newspaper and favorite magazines. The internet has changed that, and it’s a personal preference on how a person wants to get their information and communicate with people. For me, though, Twitter, doesn’t really have a purpose. I want to read and contemplate what I am reading rather than just taking a “quick view” of something or giving an opinion that is limited to how many characters I can type.

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