Social Networks

Rant: Overreaching Twitter shouts too loud

Twitter entered my life in anger, my profile @martin_v tells me, in May 2008 when I ditched a trial account or two and embarked on my eagle flight to join the never-ending dawn chorus of opinion, updating and wibble - what that brilliant writer Nicholas Carr once called the web’s telegraph system.

In that time Twitter has become a boon companion. I’ve checked it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, while waiting for people, when on trains, planes (when allowable, your honour) and automobiles (passenger seat, m’lud). It has been a great source of news and opinion and a wonderful tool for making stories travel further than they might have done. It has made me laugh - even if it has never threatened to make me cry.

I still think Twitter is great but it has become harder to filter and parse for the stuff I like. The telegraph system has become the Big Brother house, a shouty place where it’s harder than ever to be heard and where the gaudy decorations only seem to amplify the noise and bruise the confused senses.

In part this is just a product of volume. Now we are all Twitterers, to try another comparison, we have become like patrons of a busy pub, shouting to be overheard, jostling for attention, misinterpreting the words of others, braiding our views with ever brighter livery in order to draw attention to ourselves, becoming angry and frustrated. The boor war is at its height.

And in part this is a product of Twitter itself and its reaching for revenue and profitability: hence the bells and whistles on its worthy chassis, the sponsored Tweets, suggested this and that, the regular changes of look and feel.

Twitter is still a priceless source of near-to-the-knuckle information, still the place to hear the views of people you respect or are at least obligated to know about. It’s just that what once was pleasant birdsong has become a constant squawking. 


Further reading:

Technology Addiction: A 21st-Century Malady


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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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