My Love-Hate Relationship With Twitter

If you’re in the IT industry, tweeting has probably become a regular part of your day, like brushing your teeth. I know it has for me, as an industry analyst and researcher.

But, since joining the Twitterverse in 2008, I’ve slowly but surely reconciled myself to the fact that Twitter is my frenemy–because in most cases, the same reasons I love it are also the reasons I hate it!

My relationship with the cute little blue bird is complicated, for many reasons:

  1. I can say anything on Twitter. Free speech and all that is a great thing, of course. And Twitter is a great way to share ideas as well as random thoughts. But, how much is too much and how much is not enough? Just one more thing to worry about, especially now that many people also seem to be fixated on Klout scores which seem more correlated to volume than anything else.
  2. Anyone else can say anything on Twitter. I pick up a lot of very interesting tips, insights and ideas from other people’s tweets. And I may even be interested in where the closest of the thousands of people I follow are checking in on Foursquare. But there is also a great deal of trash–and seemingly more often of late, spam–swimming in the Twitter stream. Since one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, it may be wishful thinking to hope that filtering can one day take care of this problem, but I’m hoping. And of course, it means that people can have other people or entire teams of other people sending Tweets out for them. Ugh–very inauthentic and usually results in Twitter overload.
  3. The short lifespan of a tweet. The social media analytics and monitoring service Sysomos says that he average life span of a tweet is less than an hour. If a tweet falls in the Twitterverse, and there’s no one there to retweet or reply to it, did it really fall? The fact is that if no one retweets or replies a tweet within the first hour, the odds are that nobody ever will. So if I say something dumb, 99.99% of my followers won’t notice, which is great. But when I say something (that at least I think is) insightful or interesting, 99.99% of my followers won’t ever see that either!
  4. DMing (direct messages). This is great–a fast, quick and to the point way to engage. But unlike some of my peers that are more adept at multi-tasking, if I don’t happen to be looking at Tweetdeck, I may not see a DM in a timely way. I don’t use that continual alerting feature anymore because the constant pop-ups were driving me crazy and causing ADHD-like symptoms to erupt.
  5. Tweetdeck. Of course I love Tweetdeck because I can look at specific people, hashtags or groups more easily. But I hate it because it is now running about the length of a football field across my Mac screen.
  6. Now you can do long tweets! That 140-character thing is great, keeps everything short and sweet. But sometimes you just need more characters! So is fantastic for that when I have to use it, but a pain in the neck when I’m reading other people’s tweets and have to click-through on the link to read the whole tweet.

Phew…it was great to end my Friday by getting that off my chest, and if you have any relationship issues with Twitter, I’d love for you to share them back!

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