Twitter

  1. I still don't understand how Twitter is in any way superior to posting one-liners to Livejournal.
  2. I'm also not clear on how it's any better (or even any different) than idling on IM.

  3. I barely use the thing, but @rstevens said my name the other day, and I immediately got 50+ new followers. Then I mentioned it here in passing and I got 150+ more. I think half of them signed up an account 30 seconds before that. Who the hell are you people? No, don't answer that, I don't really care. Jesus.

  4. Those of you who post daily dumps of your twitter messages: fucking knock that shit off. It's annoying.

  5. In re point #1, I will now make a policy of posting more one liners to LJ. Possibly even from my phone.

Tags: ,

75 Responses:

  1. supersat says:

    I'm fairly certain the original LiveJournal client only supported one line entries. Who knew that removing features would lead to a popular new web service in the crazy Web 2.0 era? :P

  2. ultranurd says:

    I'm not sure I understand the point of service cross-posting, other than more ways to call attention to yourself. If I friend someone, say a fellow alum, I don't think I want to see the same one-liner in their Facebook status, their LJ, their Twitter, their IM away message, etc. Is that what you're wondering about?

    That said, I'm still new to using Twitter, so maybe I'm not yet a new media douchebag. Apparently I'm supposed to call them "Twitterati"?

  3. browse says:

    For me, twitter feels like IRC (an ancient chat protocol). Slower of course, but with the ability to only "listen" to the folks you care to.

  4. #4 AGREED.

    I have deliberately quit following people on Twitter only to have them start dumping digests of their daily twitters on Livejournal. I cannot escape.

  5. pvck says:

    Speaking hypothetically (because I don't quite get it either), in re: point #1, it is not particularly easy to have my phone tell me when you (and only you) have updated your lj? Maybe? But I have a caveman phone, so this may not apply to you kids today with your palms and your crackberries and your newfangled newtons.

    (for the record, I don't actually follow you on my phone, just my girlfriend. Because I am way more an obsessive fanboy for her than for you.)

  6. latemodel says:

    #4: YES. I know folks who have stopped this because of the public censure. If I wanted to be on Twitter, I would be on Twitter with all the other twits.

    I firmly believe that the purpose of Twitter is to rack up messaging charges for the cell carriers.

    • netik says:

      Naw, that's what 3jam does. They take one inbound SMS message and push it out to all your friends.

      Oh wait. Twitter beat them to the exact same thing. Ooops.

  7. myth says:

    I think the only person who is actually authorized to use Twitter is Jenny Holzer. Everyone else is violating the terms of service.

  8. perligata says:

    I think my main complaint about twitter has to do with #4. I've seen a few of my LJ friends, who used to write thoughtful LJ posts, turn to merely syndicating their twitter messages (I believe you called these "twits" instead of "tweets" during one conversation). I don't mind one-liners, and I don't mind more or less contentless posts, but to have them aggregated in one place without any cohesion or continuance of normal posting is deeply irritating.

    I don't really use IM very often, and a few of the twitter people I follow don't use LJ, so it's moderately useful to me, in the way that any pointless diversion can be useful.

    • mooflyfoof says:

      "I've seen a few of my LJ friends, who used to write thoughtful LJ posts, turn to merely syndicating their twitter messages"

      This is my number 1 problem with Twitter. It steals a bunch of the content from LJ! My boyfriend, a big twitterer, almost never posts on LJ any more, instead just opting to tweet regularly throughout the day. Makes me sad. I miss his real posts. And I feel like I'm missing a bunch of interesting content, because I'm not willing to keep up by having all my friends' tweets SMSed to my phone or wade through my twitter friendslist several times a day & try to untangle all the one-line conversations. Come back to LJ, people! Come back!

  9. curlyeric says:

    I deleted my Twitter account last week because it's for the 2 second attention span crowd. While it might be handy for some bots, it's nothing that I can't do, just as easy, with AIM or Jabber.

  10. Before I try out any new piece of web2.0, I like to know of a clear case of the software
    getting someone laid. The problem with twitter is I can't figure out how it is going to
    get anyone laid, much less me.

    • jwz says:

      I have even lower standards than that. I'd use it if it failed to get me laid, but merely made it easier to get my existing friends to have lunch with me.

      I should register iHungr.com.

      • paisleychick says:

        laughingsquid seems to have a lot of luck getting people to have drinks and such with him on short notice via twitter.

        • insomnia says:

          Yeah, but let's be honest. LJ can get you laid. It's gotten me laid several times... and a partner, even.

          Really... people in the bay area were better off in the heydays of Trex. Lots of people got laid back then.

          Am I the only person who thinks that web 2.0 has killed everything that was so successful about chat BBS'? People were relatively young, local, not entirely anonymous, and yet legitimately horny.

          What's not to like?!

          • bifrosty2k says:

            Yes, let us revel in the glory of Trex.

          • cattycritic says:

            Ever think that it might be just that we're 15 years older (read: less hormones) and technology no longer belongs to the geek inner circle (read: more lusers)? We've aged out, dude, everyone's on the internet and we were into it BEFORE ALL THE REST OF YOU POSERZ FUXX0r3D EVERYTHING MEH!

            /cries

            • insomnia says:

              It is sad, but still...

              That said, I think it's more than that.

              The web is really quite bad at local anything... design something local and community-oriented that works and you're inevitably going to find yourself in a Craigslist dilemma, with a bunch of lusers insisting that you expand to other locales and water down that success... or you will find that running it becomes "work" which, with enough members becomes "paid work", which becomes "business"... in which case you once more are trying to scale a local success to the point where it isn't successful elsewhere, thereby robbing it of its original voice based around a single locality... sort of like the Peter Principle for online communities.

              That, and I have yet to see chat on the web that feels quite as "right" as the old BBS, in part because they were so command line oriented. You were forced to learn the particular grammatics for the site, and those little commands held so much immediacy and power once you knew them.

              ... which is exactly how you *don't* go about designing most web chatting features, which manage to feel both graphical and klunky at the same time.

      • insomnia says:

        Must be hard when so many of 'em are a bunch of old squares with day jobs.

        What they really need is a site that specializes in connecting people who wake up at 11, slack off, work an evening stint, hit a club, pick up random strangers, and then crash.

      • jamwt says:

        That's what Lunchstr is for!

  11. gwillen says:

    I still don't understand how Twitter is in any way superior to posting one-liners to Livejournal.

    Because I don't want to have to read everyone's goddamn Livejournal. It would be great if people would only post one-liners, sure. But most people post essays on things I don't care about.

    The big feature of Twitter is not for the senders, it's for the recipients -- it forces messages to be under 140 characters. Can't say it in 140 characters? That's a hint about whether I need to hear it.

    That, to me, is what Twitter offers over LJ.

    • gwillen says:

      P.S.: I don't actually use my cellphone with Twitter. Maybe that was their intended use case, but I find it way too verbose for that. I get it through IM, where I find the volume of messages tolerably low.

    • cow says:

      The funny thing is, I find that, if it can be said in 140 characters, I almost certainly don't care.

    • xinit says:

      I'd argue that if you can say it in 140 characters, it's not likely worth saying...

    • mark242 says:

      That is not a fucking feature, because it isn't Twitter forcing the message size.

      Twitter is not supposed to be read on the web. They should turn the goddamn website and API off, and make the service SMS only. Then it would be used for its rightful purpose, which is to send SMS messages to a bunch of your friends all at once. It should not be used to try to relay useful information to desktop clients, because guess what, 140 characters to put your thoughts into words results in nothing but confusion, antagonism, and general idiocy.

      • marmoset says:

        For such a trivial service, people have found a remarkable number of ways to (ab)use it. Personally, I _really_ don't give a hairy flaying fuck about SMS; I use Twitter as an async IM client that I really don't have to pay attention to _except_ when I want to. When I start an IM client I usually get IM-bombed by people I've been dodging.

        • dr_pipe says:

          word. I can't even use the SMS cause my dumb phone only does 10 digit numbers. But I use it from chat to broadcast messages at everyone who's listening, which is a completely different mode of communication than sending an IM to one particular person. Also it's good for posting hangouts, or just saying what you're doing; if someone wants to know they can check my status but there's no need to clutter up my LJ with a million trivial updates a day.

          I agree with #4 though.

    • elusis says:

      And you're on LJ why, then?

  12. cow says:

    #4, I totally agree with. I'm about to start dropping people because all I see is their twitter dumps, and they are even less interesting than their journals.

    The only real use for Twitter I've ever personally found was back when I did cons (of the anime/whatever variety). It's really useful to have what works out to SMS broadcast with your other friends who are at said con; you can send a quick "I'm at [panel x] in [room y]" or "I'm at this party" and it makes coordinating and communication a lot easier.

    Since I stopped doing those, I've left the service turned off.

  13. bitwise says:

    I fail to see how anyone can actually love twitter given that the site is broken roughly one day out of every week. Maybe it's a devious plan to torture people who have nothing better to do but sit and click reload.

  14. daria_4 says:

    After reading all the above replies, my lack of knowledge about Twitter other than having seen it mentioned twice in as many days leads me to believe I am either way less internet cool than I thought I was, or I don't have enough friends.
    However, I seem to win for losing on this one.

  15. jbacardi says:

    Funny thing is, I seem to get more replies when I post my Twitter feeds than I do from the infrequent LJ posts I put up. So as long as the phenomenon continues, I suppose I'll keep posting them.

    Fortunately, you don't follow my LJ anyway, so you are spared this.

  16. xinit says:

    I still don't quite understand twitter. I've been trying, but it just strikes me as lazy... I don't CARE what you're having for breakfast, people, and as you say, posting a stack of your one liners doesn't substitute for real content.

  17. dossy says:

    Twitter wins because it sets the expectations correctly. When I see a new LJ entry that's essentially worthless crap, I'm let down.

    When I see a new Twitter update in my stream, I don't expect much. When it turns out to be a funny link, or a useful update from a friend I'm stalkin--er, trying to make plans with--etc., then I'm strangely pleased.

    Happiness is all about low expectations.

    • mark242 says:

      No, it's exactly like a private IRC channel that's +m. This shit was old in 1997, come on.

      • You have completely misunderstood Twitter. Everyone has their own whitelist (and blacklist), so even though we're all in one logical chat room, we only see the 10-100 people we care about.

        IRC gets that only if you get your group of friends in your room, that you control. And in reality, half your friends hate the other half, and nobody wants to be under the control of some IRC douchebag.

        Twitter puts control in the hands of each user.

        THAT IS ALL.

        • mark242 says:

          You have completely misunderstood irc.

          Explain how my following your username on Twitter is at all different from my joining your private irc channel that only you can post to.

          "IRC gets that only if you get your group of friends in your room, that you control."

          Well, yeah, no shit. Twitter gets that only if you get your group of friends to follow your twitter username, that you control.

          • webmaven says:

            "Explain how my following your username on Twitter is at all different from my joining your private irc channel that only you can post to."

            Imagine that all those private IRC channels that you have joined were multiplexed together into one virtual channel for you, and that when you post it goes into *your* private channel that the other users may or may not have joined. That's the (admittedly small) difference.

            That, and the fact that this is the primary use-case, so the UI is oriented around it.

            It may be subtle, but the difference is there. Just as subclassing and delegation are both forms of indirection.

  18. violentbloom says:

    You would think that twitter could manage to format journal posts in a fashion that is vaguely readable. But it just completely sucks.

    I skip anyone who feels the need to post in this fashion, it annoys me greatly.

    If you wouldn't have posted the one liner before, perhaps it's still just not worth my time. Besides you're generally verbose in amusing ways.

  19. zebe says:

    Thanks for this post. I've had this exact discussion with about 5 other people just this week, so it's nice to be able to simply send out this url for my thoughts on Twitter.

    To reiterate what everyone else said above: Web 1.0 got me laid repeatedly. All Web 2.0 does for me is let me play Scrabble at work.

  20. elusis says:

    Twitter posts on LJ are massively annoying, particularly when they are apparently half of a conversation with someone else. Was the text messaging technology proving insufficient somehow, that I need to see your "LOL you're so right!!!" and "Thanks, me too!" twieets posted every day?

    • greyface says:

      This is precisely my problem with the twitter dumps.

      If people were Tweeting, "I <3 Cinnamon rolls" and "Aww, Charlize in accounting got flowers!" I could understand what was going on in the twitter feed, and it would just be a bunch of nearly worthless garbage, but at least sensible, and about the person's life.

      But the half-a-conversation is ridiculous. Even if you are similarly LJ-reading the other half of the conversation, does anybody want to take the time to match them up by timestamp and decode the conversation?

      I think maybe a 90% solution on the twitter-to-lj-dump would be filtering out any message starting @ because it's not actually regarding the twitterer.

  21. bifrosty2k says:

    Twitter is web2.5, and is likely to run out of money faster than web1.0

  22. romulusnr says:

    Somehow it's less depressing when no one responds to your twitters than when no one responds to your LJ posts.

    And hey, wilw responded to me the other day, which puts Twitter up one in fanboy points.

  23. edge_walker says:

    Twitter is like an IRC channel, except reduced to the channel topic.

    Technically it's no different from posting one-liners to LJ, except that LJ's interface suggests writing a paragraph or two and titling it. In contrast, you cannot post anything more than one-liners on Twitter - but the update form right is right at the top of on your friends page. So people use it differently. UI shapes use - you know this.

  24. ihnatko says:

    I ignored Twitter when it first went public, because it seemed silly. Then lots and lots of people started using it, and then I wrote a review which can be summarized as "...really? _This_ is what we're using the internet for these days?"

    Then a few months later, I discovered that lots and lots of my friends had started posting on it, and then it became useful and desirable. The Twitter feed is like office chatter, for good and for bad. Sometimes you pick up useful info, sometimes you pick up a tidbit that makes you want to have an actual conversation, sometimes it's just yap yap yap yap...but here, abandon the analogy and are grateful for the ability to un-follow someone.

    So I was forced to write a new review. The bottom line is that Twitter makes no sense, until it suddenly makes complete sense.

  25. jwm says:

    1. LJ has the low overhead write interfaces that Twitter does-SMS and IM-but it lacks the same sort of read interface. With Twitter, you get a dozen entries on screen at once, while most LJ themes would add a couple of lines of administrative debris to each posting, even if you could constrain the output to just the one liner posts.
    2. An IM client could emulate Twitter, but you'd need to make setting the presence text line to be trivially easy, and you'd need the status of your friends to be displayed as a log, rather than just their last recorded state. Getting all those clients to implement those features ain't going to happen, so if you think their are merits to this kind of use of IM, you need something like Twitter.

      Another advantage Twitter has over IM is that the interface for messaging people is more like text messages-sending a message to someone has lower overheads than email, but their isn't quite the same social expectation of an immediate reply, as their tends to be with chat. The downside is that it's done in public, of course. On the other hand, "Who's up for lunch?" is broadcast by default, without being disruptive.

    I think Twitter comes into it's own when used with a desktop client, as this lowers the posting overhead even further, makes the stream of other people's activity run closer to real time, but ties it all up in a window that can sit to the side of your main desktop focus, much like IM clients.

  26. kevinspencer says:

    Amen to #4. Really.

  27. taiganaut says:

    Those of you who post daily dumps of your twitter messages: fucking knock that shit off. It's annoying.

    Very much so. Thank god only one of my e-pals does it so far.

  28. maxcelcat says:

    I'm not sure I understand Twitter either, although it is fun to "blog" from wherever you are at five minutes intervals.

    I'm "maxcelcat" if you can be bothered.

    Oh, and I've met some interesting people through it. Friendly nerds, for the most part...

  29. AMEN!

    It provoked some musings, something I've been thinking about for a while: http://timbearcub.livejournal.com/258214.html

  30. sheilagh says:

    Guy alerts pals he's arrested in Egypt, possibly saving him from the memory hole: http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/04/25/twitter.buck/index.html

    That said, the twitter shit on my friends list in livejournal? Horrible.

  31. shandrew says:

    Twitter is a tool to gain followers to take over the world:

    1. I don't actually use twitter
    2. I'm not remotely famous
    3. I have 55 followers on twitter

    Now, i figure that if i used twitter, i'd have 10x more followers, and if i were famous, i'd have 100x more followers, so there's 55,000 followers right there. Now, with 55,000 followers, you are bound to gain more by sheer follower-of-follower growth, so 55x more, is 3 million followers! Then i'd have a Chicago-sized population to twit over the world.