Twitter: You're Dead to Me
I get Twitter. I do. I see how it can be addicting. And relevant. And instant. And even compelling, depending on whom you follow and why. I know why people Tweet; and I know why colleagues of mine swear by it. I get how the site can help people build a personal brand; and I liked linking my Tweets to my blog.
But here we are, a month later, and after a couple of hundred Tweets, and nearly 700 followers (thank you, thank you, thank you!), I've come to the conclusion - like more than a third of other Tweeters out there after their first month, that the site is just not for me. I followed some folks, read their Tweets, linked to my blog, broke some news, communicated with some of you directly, but by and large, I just couldn't get my arms around any true value. That's not to say that I didn't find value in my followers. I absolutely loved hearing from you. Even heard from some old friends. But much of that communication could have easily been handled via email, or dare I say it, on the phone, or in text messages, or *gasp, over drinks, or any number of other platforms with which I'm already familiar and easily found.
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To me, Twitter became a new way to encroach on my already very limited time. Work for me is a 24/7 proposition whether I like it or not. That's the reality of cable news. I'm never far from my Blackberry and when I see the battery dwindling to a couple of bars, I get nervous. I'm a dad with two great kids who patiently indulge my Blackberry addiction (though I'm getting much better), I have a job that practically consumes me, I have two pugs I like to hang with, I love to ride my bicycle for hours at a time. I like to see friends and family. Living in the realm of cable news, it is tough to balance all of life's responsibilities and interests and journeys. It's all I can do to cover such a dynamic beat, keep this blog current, and have some sense of a life. Work has paid me enormous dividends; but some of those dividends have come at enormous costs as well.
And that's where Twitter comes in. Or not. To add another thing to do, to add more responsibilities to my day, to feel like I'm letting someone down because I can't get a 140-character message up, to stop down what I'm doing to Tweet something interesting -- that really might not be - just doesn't fit into my life or lifestyle. In my original post about all this, when I decided to give Twitter a try, I thought the site would give me a chance to "live blog" my day. I quickly realized, not only do I think no one is interested in my day outside of the people I directly deal with, but I just don't have the time to do it. I also looked at my Twitter posts as an exercise in vanity. It seemed very much about "me," "me," and "me" when my job is really more about "you," "you," and "you."
I did enjoy reading Lance Armstrong's posts, and Andy Schleck's, and Johan Bruyneel's, Jane Wells', Mike Huckman's. I marvel at Tweeters like Guy Kawasaki, the former Apple Inc. evangelist who's now a top-name venture capitalist because he has to be the most prolific writer in the history of time. He's got nearly 200,000 followers and he's already posted a staggering 31,171 Tweets as of this writing. I don't know how he does it. Or quite frankly, why.
Maybe I'm just not that interesting. Perhaps I’m just not that interested. But Twitter to me, for me, didn't facilitate communication. It just made it worse. It stops people from speaking. It stops understanding. It stop analysis. It turns simplicity into a detriment. Simple is good. Simplistic, not so much.
Twitter, by some reports, now commands a $1 billion valuation. Not bad for a company with a handful of employees, and no revenue model, much less any idea when a profit stream might come. I guess that billion dollars is for the eyeballs it has attracted, but haven't we already been through eyeball-valuations before? Maybe someone will come up with a way to monetize this kind of thing, but for now, I'll sit on the sidelines as a very interested observer. I played the game, and even had fun during a very small part of the time. I came, I saw, I Tweeted, and I wish I could say I conquered, too. But I didn't. And don't care to.
I get it. For a precious few. But Twitter is just not for me. By the way, the previous blog works out to 4,298 characters, including spaces. At 140 characters per Tweet, and doing a Tweet a day, it would have taken me a full month to post that blog in Twitter-eze. Depressing.
I would love to hear from those of you who Tweet, about the pros, the cons, the merits, the pitfalls. Is this merely a passing fad we'll look back on 3, 5, 10 years from now with a chuckle? Will we even remember that it existed? I welcome, and encourage your responses.
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