Is Twitter the new normal? Boy, I sure hope not. As someone who runs their own business, I wanted to ensure that I am familiar with the new forms of social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. So I tried them out to see if they could help attract new clients or correspond with existing ones. So far, I have not seen the return in investment. Luckily, my only investment has been time.
Twitter seems to me to be the most puzzling of all because so many people use it ineffectively. Facebook is great for staying in touch with friends that you have not spoken to in 20 years and don't actually want to talk to, and LinkedIn is great if you are actively looking for or recruiting for a job position. So what is Twitter? To me, it is most effective as a news feed. I follow a couple of prominent newspapers and a few high profile people so that I can stay on top of important pieces of news information. I got tired of reading people's personal Tweets because I don't care what they are doing at any given moment throughout the day.
If the new normal is constant updates on people's whereabouts, broadcasted to the world, then I am not interested. I think Twitter makes people feel more important than they are. How can someone be following, actually following, 3,000 people? I am following less than 20 people and it is hard to keep up. It creates a false sense of value because a false sense of importance is created. "If that many people are following me, then I must be important and have important things to say."
I think Twitter has become a great news feeder service. Getting on the ground insight into world events as they happen and getting news stories faster than the radio has its benefits. The short format of a Tweet (140 characters) also ensures that we do not have to invest a lot of time to find out valuable information. It has become the perfect service to feed our ongoing need to want information immediately and fuels our ridiculously low attention spans. The more information we can gather without actually having to do anything, the more we will use these types of services.
Who knows what will happen in the future, but services like Twitter certainly have some value. I just hope that value is not in continuing to advocate a society where all conversations become one to none, because there is still no way to replace a good conversation.