Why do (some) people hate Twitter? | Bang The Table
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Why do (some) people hate Twitter?

Twitter LogoLast week I posted a link on Twitter to the Australian ABCs The Drum blogpost about the uptake of Twitter by rural Australian communitiesSocial Media Storm: Farmers take to Twitter. For me, the most interesting aspect of the post was not what the author had to say, it was rather the discussion between The Drum readers about the value or otherwise of Twitter.

We’ve talked about Twitter on this blog a number of times in the past. Our thoughts have not always been received positively. I have keen memories of the live Twitter blasting I received at a Canberra Gov 2.0 conference where I dared to suggest that Twitter was not a community engagement tool. I have since tempered my disdain and have found it a useful research, networking and very occassionally debating tool – the ABCs Q&A hashtag is fun to follow and join in, as was the Australian Federal election discussion last year.

So I am not here to attack Twitter. It has proven itself to me over time.

BUT… it hasn’t for a lot of people. What follows is a collection of comments on The Drum story.

It is NOT an arbitrary selection. I have chosen to highlight those that are critical of Twitter as both a communications platform and social contributor. Why focus on the negative? Because I feel that the comments raise compelling and legitimate issues that should be at the very least considered when we are thinking about online engagement methodology.

ABC Drum screen shot

ABC Drum screen grab

ABC Drum screen grab

ABC Drum screen grab

ABC Drum screen grab

ABC Drum screen grab

There were. ofcourse, just as many Twitter defendents in the debate. One particularly defensive example:

ABC Drum twitter defendent

When you boil it all down, and remove the disdainfull and occasionally vitriolic language, the issues raised can be summarised as:

  • Twitter content cannot easily be validated.
  • Twitter comments are not thoughtful.
  • Twitter is not really interative and does not encourage real conversation.
  • The volume of worthwhile content is overwhelmed by content with no real value.

I find it particularly interesting that these comments are made by people who are clearly comfortable communicating in the online environment and who are also clearly very articulate.

They seem to me to be important issues that deserve substantive thought. They may even be legitimate research questions.

And because they are deserving of deeper thinking, I’m not going to try to address them here with a flippant response in this short post. But I am interested in your thoughts.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted September 22, 2011 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    Rebuttals:

    * Twitter content cannot easily be validated.

    No more and no less than ANY other social media site.

    * Twitter comments are not thoughtful.

    Depends on the quality of who YOU are following. YOU CHOOSE who you follow.

    * Twitter is not really interative and does not encourage real conversation.

    Completely the opposite. Twitter cuts out a lot of ridiculous “filler” jib jab with the 140 limit- this helps distill each message to it’s finest point, and depending on who YOU follow, those will be either quality or not, relevant to YOU or not, YOUR choice. As for “interactive”, twitter is VERY interactive- it encourages users to engage with tweeted media and URL’s that are NOt served by Twitter.

    * The volume of worthwhile content is overwhelmed by content with no real value.

    Depends on the quality of you are following. YOU CHOOSE.

    Debunked.

  2. Posted August 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink
    Craig
    Craig says:

    I get enormous value from Twitter in my job.

    It is a source of intelligence and news that I can dip into and out of as I please.

    Rather than following people, I find following hashtags most useful.

    I don’t pay much attention to the media’s selective reporting of tweets. This is used to reinforce perspectives and rarely provides a balanced view of conversations. Go to the primary source!

  3. Posted August 31, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Crispin – I agree with your reservations about Twitter. I’ve tried following people I think may have interesting things to share. Inevitably they start retweeting stuff from others or go off subject and I lose interest in what they have to say (or simply can’t sort the useful stuff from the dross).
    I have replied to a few tweets when someone says something I have something to say about, but have only had one or two replies and no conversation has eventuated.
    Twitter seems to be most popular with celebrities, wannabes and all those social media zealots who seem to be on every platform going – saying the same old thing. Most of us really don’t get much beneit from it.
    BUT the thing that really annoys me is the print media that reprints what people are saying on Twitter or the Tv news that quote Twitter like it’s some sort of informed comment. Like the comment in your story – it’s the equivalent of pub discussion and most of it doesn’t warranrt repeating (or re-tweeting).

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