After reading through the boards* that came across my desk today for various columns and news items, I have come to a conclusion: I am the only person left in the world, under the age of 35, not using Twitter.
I am fine with this because, despite my general tech savvy, I just don’t understand it. I’ve heard of companies using it to update customers on sales, which makes sense, but I imagine that most Twitter posts look like this:
“I am sitting at the bus stop.”
“I have a meeting from 2-4 p.m.”
“Does anyone know what a red rash with green puss indicates?”
This may be useful information to someone, but I have to say I just don’t get it. It’s like a Facebook status update, but without all the cool stuff Facebook provides: like the ability to send your friends silly virtual eggs that hatch into Red Pandas, or feel better about yourself by saving the rain forest a square-centimeter at a time by sending your friends Lil Green Patch requests (rather than doing the hard work of reducing your carbon footprint). And frankly, if it weren’t for Scrabulous (or the newer, more legal version Wordscraper) I’d probably still be operating in the MySpace dark ages.
Anyone who ever thought blogging was the final straw on the cultural camel’s back, allowing every self-important yahoo with an internet connection to write (often unintelligibly) about whatever they wanted, will certainly be wondering how the state of the net got even worse and devolved into “microblogging.” Just in case you didn’t have time to check your sister-in-law’s blog about her kids’ daily lives, Twitter is there to give you quick, up-to-the-minute status updates on little Caitlyn’s eating habits, and Ethan’s potty-training.
My consternation aside, some companies seem to really be using the free service to their benefit. Just today I read about JetBlue using it to monitor customer sentiment, and respond to demand for flights to a particular event or location. The same article mentions that Dell has gotten $1 million in revenue out of their Twitter sales update. Here I see a practical use for what otherwise seems to be a superfluous tool, much in the way blogging has gone from being something internet nerds did in their spare time, to a tool companies use to engage their customers and professionals use to get the word out about their work.
I may have to jump on the bandwagon someday, but for now I’m convinced that joining the Twitter-verse will only end with me knowing more about my friends’ travel patterns and skin breakouts than I care to know.
*Boards, for those of you not in the biz, are what we call the proofs of magazine or newspaper pages still in the production stage that need reading. These days they’re usually PDFs but in the good old days, they were actually boards with the pages layed out on them.