25 September 2009

How you are misusing Twitter. Yes that means you.

Everyone has put in their 2 cents about Twitter... except me. I had to say something because of all the hype and criticisms of this exploding site.

I got on the Twitter bandwagon pretty much in the middle, with all the hype. But it wasn't until later that I discovered for myself the true potential of the site. Take yourself back to that infamous day, 9/11. How did you first find out? I was living on the West Coast at the time, and I distinctly remember one of my aunts calling my mother and I telling us to turn on the TV. Does anyone remember these days? When things were happening around the world, the best way to find out what was happening was to turn on the TV. For some events (like the the presidential election) I would argue this is still the case.

Now, we all lived through the true test of twitter, and there have been thousands of de-briefs on the death of MJ and how it spread online, so I'm assuming you already understand the power of this website. What I don't understand is, why you think leaving the dentist is a legitimate piece of information to tweet?

More and more people are sharing their lives with each other online. I pride myself with sharing pictures, stories, articles, and travels with my closest friends online. I do this so I will never have to tell stories to my children about the college friends I haven't heard from in 20 years. But the place for this is not twitter. This is the ideal purpose for the Facebook Status. If I want to know what you are doing, where you are, what mood you are in, or how drunk you are, I will check your Facebook profile, or other social networking profile. Twitter is not Facebook without the profile, it should be something completely different. Unfortunately, the idealistic view I have of Twitter as the futuristic, direct-from-the-source, real time insight into what is happening in the world right now will never come true if you don't stop cramming the channels with useless information.

From now on, think of Twitter like a good ole fashioned school phone tree. The person at the top of the tree has to be responsible when setting the tree in motion. Its only used when its a necessity. School is out, and before 7:30am, everyone on the tree needs to know this information. Everyone on Twitter is at the top of their own phone tree. I am at the top of mine. When I see something that everyone needs to see, like the fact that you can get double miles on all AA flight from New York, I start my tree, because I think that is something everyone needs to be aware of. I didn't however start the tree when I decided to have a cup of fat free Activia everyday.

So, if you want more followers, don't annoy random people and old acquaintances with requests, Tweet only useful relevant information, and people will find you.