Twitter? Twipe? Or Am I not Getting it?
This is a little off-subject. I joined Twitter recently. I wanted to explore its possibilities for political commentary.
The site has been hyped unmercilessly. And the whole idea of a mini blog did sound appealing. And had not Barack Obama and British actor Stephen Fry taken the medium to new heights?
This morning’s report by Elanor Burnhill on Morning Ireland confirmed why it doesn’t really do it for me. The 140 character message is very good for telling people what individuals are doing right now (Stephen Fry is stuck in a lift, or is in a plane heading towards Japan) but pointless when it comes to imparting what’s what in politics.
In the IT, we tend not to personalise our blogs, ie restrain ourselves from focusing on the subjects we know and love best. Posts saying ‘on way to Tullamore to do doorstep interview with Cowen’ just don’t do it for me. The information is so mundane as to render it useless. It takes time out of a very busy working day. And it just seems, so pointless.
Granted, there are times of high drama and unfolding events when conceivably they may be of some us. But giving updated accounts of politics can sometimes be like describing the daily activities of a tortoise.
So, sorry, I just don’t get it. It is another alternative to social networking, people giving breaking news about their lives or making small-scale observations about small-scale things.
Perhaps I haven’t explored it enough. But the quality of information (as opposed to quantity) on Twitter and on social networking sites like Facebook isn’t high. They are all about personalising, ie me-oriented. Even brand Barack is presented like that on Facebook. Check out the Facebook site for Barry’s Tea (which somebody told me last week has over 2,000 ‘friends’). It can only work on Facebook if it is presented as a human being and people address it as such. And even then it’s boring. There is an addictive quality to Facebook. But like gaming machines you quickly learn the futility of it. You can’t stop yourself from logging in and then you discover that the only update is that somebody you don’t really know has offered you a virtual beer (and you don’t even drink, virtually or in real life!)
And it’s not that Deaglan and I are self-effacing (our egos are so big that it’s sometimes hard to squeeze into the office we share). But Twitter doesn’t pass the our quality tweshold. Am I wrong?
Can Twitter work for politics?