Friday, March 15, 2013

A chirp ... The Twitter

I work in the field of Research and Technology and it keeps amazing me with its wonders quite regularly. To some extent I can understand the mystery around new Technologies and its evolution but the human influence around it particularly in these times is something which fascinates me beyond limits.

One of the many children of modern Technology is Twitter. The place where it has reached today is pretty unbelievable. I wanted to praise and rant about it today at the same time.

Imagine a start-up with a few people you can count on your hands coming up with an initiative. The initiative is to allow people to broadcast 140 characters at a time on a website. It is a fairly simple thought and a pretty non-trivial idea (at least for me). It was a project named twttr. That was year 2006.

In about one year, the project turned into a full blown company called Twitter. A new term was conceived called microblogging to define its genre. Today, Twitter is one of the 10 most visited websites on Internet with more than 500 million users, generating revenue in the range of three digit million USDs and employing more than a 1000 people. This is year 2012. It is definitely a commendable feat without an iota of doubt. There are few companies I have seen or heard in my lifespan which has grown at this rate. You don't see such things happening every day in your life.

I personally cam to know about Twitter in 2007 and like many other ignorant people and investors rejected it completely at that time, I did the same. I has just finished my Master's Degree and started working. I still remember very clearly a photo of about 6-7 people grinning away as the team behind this venture on a website. I tried to explore it, learn its working and idea and found the whole thing a waste of time. I said to myself that who the hell in this world would be interested and have the time to know what others are doing in real time. Time, proved me otherwise.

I feel dragged on opposite ends when thinking about the use of this free online service. At one end of the spectrum, I feel that it is quite useful in communicating new ideas, links, news with people. It is a fast way to spread the word among your group. It is a good way for celebrities/organizations to keep in touch with their fans and for the fans to follow them. It serves as a good platform to promote yourself, your product, your ideas etc. 

There is absolutely no doubt that the features offered by this online service can be useful to many but then after reaching a point, I feel dragged by the negativity of this service and drag me into thinking many questions without satisfying answers. 

1. One of the biggest angst I have with Twitter is that I lost a lot of good bloggers whom I followed left blogging completely and started twitting. They started writing smart ass one liners and all the good content they could have generated never came up. It might be possible for a teenager to keep updating themselves every minute on their phone or tablet but for a working person like me is just not possible. You loose interest since you fall back on the tweets and then at one point give up forever.

2. I can accept that maybe for some people, keeping track of what their favorite celebrity/organization is doing. I can even accept that they need to know when and where they are going, when they are eating, when they visit the loo etc but does it really make sense to know what your best pal is doing by the minute? Does it not generate the need to show-off and materialize everything around you? Does it not generate a plastic life? Does it not generate a wannabe like culture? I read a study recently which showed that more than 50% of the content on Twitter is pointless babble!

3. Then it invites all the money sharks. Market researchers start hunting for the latest trends generated by the content on Twitter. To some extent that is good from technology point of view to understand the desires, needs and the thoughts of the society but then again after reaching a point it again starts becoming fake. Questions come up like whether the content generated is authentic? Was it generated by real and active accounts or just bogus ids? Were those people even sensible enough or just simple dumb? You or your product get paid more just because you have a long list of followers? Who checks how many of them are authentic and not just one time clicks? Does it not create an environment of more unreliability and non-trust around?

I can go on and on but I don't feel like doing it since it will not change anything. Maybe these and even more points must have discussed before by many other people but I had to take it out personally somewhere and what better place than my blog.  


The Gardener said...

I am still ignorant about twitter although I have heard about it and read about it, particularly the reference to 'cattle class' in the twitter of Shashi Tharoor.

Ignorance is bliss! Perhaps this saying is true. said...

Indeed it is true :)

Pattu Raj said...

I used to tweet a lot earlier.Now I dont.

Whatever, please do not stop adding posts to your blog. said...

Thanks for the motivation !! :)

Parmanu said...

The founders of Twitters have recently started another service: Medium ( It's still not open for everyone to publish content, but looks interesting so far (especially for bloggers!) said...

Hope they can offer something with the best from both services :)