Sunday, July 17, 2011


I deactivated my Twitter account after tweeting for a year and a half. I enjoyed tweeting and kind of like Twitter. On the other hand, it continued to occur to me that Twitter is stupid. Forgive the lack of sophistication, but "stupid" is the word that kept popping into my head. I don't think you're stupid if you use Twitter. But it really does seem to be stupid on a few levels. First, there's the annoying tendency of people to report their daily thoughts and activities. Second, there's the foolish self-surveillance aspect whereby you tell people exactly where you are if you use a mobile device to tweet. That doesn't seem very smart. Third, Twitter seems to meet everyone's need to feel important and maybe even a little famous. Twitter was tailor made for athletes, politicians, and celebrities. The rest of us just want a taste of our fifteen minutes, I guess.

Original post: July 2011

Update: November 2011

I'm back on Twitter. Like any relationship, there are push and pull factors. "Break up to make up." At the end of the day, Twitter fascinates me. So I am pulled in again and part of the fiasco. So let's go.

Update: December 2012

I can't get enough of Twitter. It's made me aware of so much sociology that I otherwise would have missed. It's connected me with interesting and smart people I otherwise would never have known in any way. I'm exposed to more ideas--so many more ideas. It's funny, silly, campy, informative, intriguing. The more I became familiar with it, and the better I came to understand the medium, the more I enjoyed and appreciated it. I think my initial post reflects a misunderstanding of the medium at the time, and I was wrong to only focus on some negative aspects about Twitter.

Update: March 2013

Sometimes I pursue attention on Twitter, sometimes I give credit where I think it's due, sometimes I just acknowledge the work of others, sometimes I try to circulate something I find interesting, sometimes I express myself, sometimes I allow myself the pleasure of being silly, sometimes I watch what others are doing and how they interact with each other. As a student of all things social, I find it essential to be on Twitter.

Update: July 2013

Twitter is an imperfect medium. How about that for your obvious statement of the day? A case can be made against Twitter, as Joe Nocera makes one here, but such standard fare criticism fails to properly recognize that Twitter is a positive force in many users' lives, and in some cases contributes to the well-being of people. For a well-researched perspective on Twitter, I recommend Dhiraj Murthy's book. Murthy doesn't tell us Twitter is the best thing since sliced bread. That is to say, he doesn't come off as a spokesperson for Twitter. Rather, he comes off as a reasonable-sounding person who has thought through (and carefully researched) the positive aspects of Twitter. When I say that Twitter contributes to the well-being of people, I have in mind chapter seven in his book. The chapter ("Twitter and Health") makes the point that people use Twitter to explore treatment options, find referrals, and as a support network. He also identifies downsides regarding Twitter and health (for example, privacy concerns). Twitter is a mixed bag.

There are lots of ways to use Twitter. I like it as a short form option. The short form complements the long form. I don't love Twitter every day of my life. Twitter actually frustrates me quite a bit (kind of like television). It's okay not to like everything about it. I try to understand Twitter and sometimes enjoy the experience. 

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