The Unbearable Lightness of Twitter

By which, blog snorkellers mine (hello everyone, by the way, been a while) I mean that Twitter remains, as I’ve said before, a not terribly effective communications tool. Much of the content, as we know, is at best banal, and at worst ego-driven and self-important.  Unfortunately, it is the lightweight nature of much of the content that denies it the gravitas and – perhaps – respectability that might render it effective as anything more than a rapid response, or a means to provide service updates. That and, of course, the fact that it’s difficult to say anything of meaning in 140 characters or less. I know that there are serious Tweeters – politicians and thinkers etc – but I cannot but believe that they’re there because they feel, somehow, that they should be, not because they genuinely feel there’s value. What you might call ‘down with the kids’ syndrome. (Absolutely no pun intended, for the easily offended.)

(And yes, Alanis, it is ironic that I shall be attempting to augment awareness of this post via Twitter and also – if you, dear reader, stick with me for a little longer – that I shall, from one point of view, be seen to debunk one of my most fondly held beliefs. Ooooooh, but yes.)

Proof, if any were needed, is supplied by a piece on mediabistro.com, a site which, I freely admit, I know nothing about but (I am afraid) sounds like the sort of place that I would sprint over red-hot, barbed-wire-coated scorpions to avoid.  That being said, the article is called Twitter’s 13 All-Time Most Epic Tweets, it does what it says on the tin and you can view it via the usual swish and flick – engorgio!

(No, of course you won’t. Sigh.)

Anyway, read it for yourself, but I think a couple of comments are in order – not least of which is, if these are the ’13 All-Time Most Epic’ (quite a build-up, do you not think) – why are they mostly rubbish? Why would Jack Dorsey’s first tweet (or twt, at the time) count as ‘most epic’? There was no-one there to read it.

Why would the first tweet from space be the ‘most epic’? Is a radio conversation with the space station considered ‘epic’? Not really – but it’s a sackload more informative that 140 characters of badly-spelled randomness.

Twitter helped a bloke get out of jail in Egypt. Great. I’m delighted. But it’s not ‘epic’. It’s a communication device. If bloke had time to tweet and he could use his ‘phone, why didn’t he call someone? More effective, I’d have said.

None of this stuff is ‘epic’. None of this stuff could not have been done (arguably better) through other forms of communication. It is only seen as ‘epic’ by those who have a vested interest in keeping the service fresh, relevant and – yes – well-used. Normally these people are the ‘social media gurus’ and those who write about social media. I am afraid – dearest blog trotters – the Emperor is still wearing little in the way of clothing.

And finally – and here’s where the lie may be seen to be given to one of my most deeply-held and widely advocated beliefs – to whit – that social media is of no use in selling stuff. Well, on the ‘epic’ list is a tweet from some chap on the top of Everest and – obviously – the first thing he does is get his twat on and namecheck both the service and the brand of mobile device he’s using. Good try, Samsung!

Samsung obviously invested some considerable time and effort and possibly money in this – but my gut tells me that next to no extra devices were shifted on the back of it. I can’t imagine the market for Samsung Galaxys amongst committed mountaineers is that huge.

I am, however, prepared to be wrong. Hell, I would like to be wrong.

I’m not though, am I?

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