Hari's Corner

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Twitter - that serious disrupter of communication

Filed under: Internet and Blogging by Hari
Posted on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 21:46 IST (last updated: Wed, Jan 27, 2010 @ 21:51 IST)

Social networking has always alternatively fascinated and amused me. Fascinated, because I always wonder how such sites manage to attract so much traffic and get so many millions of people to waste an incredible amount of time when they could be productive in a hundred other ways. And it has amused me equally for the same reasons. Because I can see that posting status updates on Facebook or Twitter can be extremely addictive, giving one a false sense of importance altogether and boosting egos with the number of "friends" and "followers" one gathers.

I actually don't mind the technology so much. It's how people use it that has got me wondering whether it actually is serving any purpose at all. I guess a lot of people have incredible amounts of free time to key in several updates in the middle of a busy day. What's more, most of these updates are self-centered and self-absorbed. Not many people seem even remotely interested in what the other person is saying. Rather, it feels like a bunch of people standing around in a public park and talking aloud at the same time and not paying the least attention to the others. Multiply that by a hundred thousand and you get the idea of online social networking. Communication is one-sided and trivialized. I think that's what Twitter and other social networking sites have encouraged: trivialization. The 140 character limit of Twitter is a sign of that. The focus has entirely shifted from the message to the medium.

There's nothing really special about Twitter or any other social networking medium. Most people would realize this after they got over their initial enthusiasm for something new or different. Good old (!) e-mail has always served its purpose and is an extremely robust medium of communication, being decentralized, standards-compliant, open and available to all. You aren't tied down to a single provider either. Most importantly e-mail is personal and private. I wonder why people suddenly think that's no longer a useful attribute of communication. It's been ages since I received a single (non-spam/non-automated) e-mail from anybody and what's more, I find it more and more difficult to get people to respond by e-mail. Maybe I should get out a piece of paper and pen and start writing letters instead and see where that takes me. :-P

7 comment(s)

  1. I believe each has its own purpose and fan following.. There're people who use twitter extensively and even derive business benefit from it

    Comment by Shrinidhi Hande (visitor) on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 @ 03:34 IST #
  2. Shrinidhi, is there any case study on the use of social networking for business purposes? It appears that most of these social networks are tailored for casual and fun use rather than for business purposes.

    I know that a lot of people use Twitter as an advertising board. How effective is it really?

    Comment by Hari (blog owner) on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 @ 08:43 IST #
  3. Actually using Twitter is quite effective in business simply because idiots want people to follow and when they run out of other idiots to follow initially they start following companies which normally have a lot more useful stuff to say.

    But as per my "developer interest" theory, Twitter will die, and it's seeing the signs already - the API was a huge help, but not good enough.

    Comment by Dion Moult (visitor) on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 @ 12:50 IST #
  4. pigeon message-postal-email-sms-twitter-?

    Evolution takes place in every form.. never mind of anything.. jus catch the latest and run..

    Comment by Logesh Tamilselvan (visitor) on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 @ 13:54 IST #
  5. Dion, yes, interesting. It appears that marketing agencies and companies tend to make better use of these technologies than individuals.

    Logesh, what I was annoyed was that some people have all the time to post twitter updates but not respond to e-mail communication. I guess I got a bit upset about that.

    Comment by Hari (blog owner) on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 @ 14:35 IST #
  6. I think it works better when you have twitter to text available and a bunch of friends in your area all using it- then it is useful. Otherwise, it's fluff. :) (but fun!)

    Comment by titanium (visitor) on Sat, Jan 30, 2010 @ 05:31 IST #
  7. Titanium, yes, it all depends on the kind of participation. Long time no see, by the way. :biggrin:

    Comment by Hari (blog owner) on Sat, Jan 30, 2010 @ 08:08 IST #

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