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TWITTER January 7, 2009

Posted by wetalkhablamos in internet.

Please help me. I don’t understand the appeal of Twitter.

Yes, it’s a fantastic technology, and I appreciate its accessibilty and spontaneity.

Most Twitter-er-ers, however, don’t have the wit or skill to be interesting in this truncated format. Much of the content is underwhelming as we’re served up trivia we just don’t need.

And we forced to research each comment (by clicking the links) in order to understand what we’re reading. Why can’t you just tell us?

It seems to me that there are such big things going on just now, Twitter is trivialising our lives and wasting all our time.

Or is it? Let me know.




1. Santiago Benites - January 10, 2009

I agree with you 100% Plus who really cares what idiotic things people are doing every half an hour!?

2. Nicky - January 10, 2009

Team Astana twittered (last night our time) that Chechu was stuck in Asturias, his flight delayed due to mechanic problems. Stupidly, I popped this “news” onto the website.

Sixteen hours later, there’s nothing more from the team, presumably because Chechu finally got his flight and is now Adelaide-bound. Let’s hope so. I could text him, but I won’t. He doesn’t need it.

I bought into this insider snippet. I’ve tried to follow-up the story this morning, by checking Asturian newspapers and local flight tracking, to find out more. No news. Weather today is rainy but fine.

You’ll remember that the air crash in Madrid last summer happened after the plane aborted its first attempt to take off due to mechanical problems. On my flight home from the Vuelta, my Spanish neighbour was keen to point out the scarred landscape close to Barajas airport. It took me a long time to get to sleep last night.

I look at all kinds of news sources for Chechu’s website, and so I have to look at Team Astana’s Twitter. I just have to learn that ultimately, Twitter isn’t where the important stuff lies.


3. Euro Peloton - January 10, 2009

I disagree that Twitter is not useful. Sure, if you’re posting about drinking a coffee than don’t bother, but is sure is cool to see pics of where riders are riding or what they are finding interesting on the Internet. As a quick communications tool, it is great. Also, journalists can post links on Twitter for readers instead of having to write an article about the event themselves. Give it a chance, and you’ll find you’re viewing things about cycling that you wouldn’t have found on your own.

4. Nicky - January 10, 2009

Fair enough. I hope it does get interesting, and we get breaking news on race days.


5. Rebecca - January 12, 2009

I’m really on the fence about this.

Have you ever been in a house that had a police scanner? What noise! Not a nice background for a beautiful life, and rarely is the information derived from it pertinent.

On the other hand, the idea of breaking news coming over the wire is fascinating and charming, not to mention useful. Red Barber was great at calling the ballgames based on the ticker only–colorful, dramatic, suspenseful. And think of the historic messages that have been telegraphed in just a few words.

So, Twitter…hmm, I’m not sure where that fits in. The vanity posts are useless and annoying. Learning that Chechu and Jesus H. had arrived safely in Australia after being stuck in a blizzard was welcome.

Thanks to friends who have read the Twitter posts and sent the important parts. Maybe we need to put reporters on Twitter 24/7.
If the pertinent bits can be consolidated, then responsible hard-working websites can improve their game.

Too much shrapnel of information. Distractions. Gossip. Factoids. That’s what I’m talking about. But I’ll vote to acquit Twitter for the time being thanks to the one fact in a hundred that is relevant to me personally.

Oh yeah, I forgot: Twitter’s ugly. Hope they fix the look.

6. Nicky - January 13, 2009

I still have an ethical problem with this. Sorry. A 1/100 useful tidbit is just not enough.

It’s true we have incredibly short attention spans. No wonder. We are bombarded with up to 3,500 sales shots each day, that’s one every 15 seconds of our waking lives. (source. John Naish, author of Enough). He says,

“We are all increasingly infomaniacs, compulsively grabbing every snippet in the hope that one day, we’ll find the magic bit that makes all the rest make sense.”

Maybe social networks are empowering for some people, but I suspect they mostly enourage our vanity and consumption as much as they do communication.

I also can’t see a statement from Twitter which promises not to sell subscriber data to a third party. I may have missed it, let me know.


7. cg. - January 14, 2009

I don’t get it either. (Is that a sign that I’m just old?)

8. Rebecca - January 15, 2009

Yeah, maybe it’s more like one tidbit per million.

And in between useful tidbits you just want to jump off a cliff.

9. Joan P., LMT, CKTP - January 26, 2009

Nicky, During TdU a few of use used twitter to talk about the race. Johan was twittering from the car and taking pictures. His “reports” were faster than the live coverage on Cyclingnews. We knew the winner of each stage a good 5 minutes before it was reported on CN. He also gave insites into about the boys that were never covered on CN. Personally I was chatting with Debbie, Amy and Chris during the race. Even though we live in different time zones we were together.

A few of our “group” will be going to ToC next month. They will be filling the rest of us “stay at homers” so we will feel like we were there.

Basically, don’t knock Twitter, there good and yes there is garbage, just have to be careful who you follow.

As a side note, Lance sent some beautiful pictures of his taining in Hawaii as well as Liz. It’s fun and as I said you can control most of the content.

10. Nicky - January 26, 2009

I’m glad it’s keeping your community together, Joan. If Twitter produces such conversations, that’s good.
And the tweets from the team car were certainly interesting, Johan produced the best photo of Chechu (not that the competition was tough).
And … I was quite moved by the photo of Lance sitting on his bed before Stage 1.
So I tried Twitter myself last week and lasted for very nearly one day. I understand more how it works now, but it just didn’t seem a useful way to spend my time. It seems that you have to work hard to make it interesting.
Good luck with it though, and enjoy California. Look after Chechu for us. Please be his advocate on Twitter, and if you see anything interesting about him, let us know. Thanks.

11. Debbie Scaife - January 27, 2009

I have to say all of you have valid points. Many of the posts are not worth reading; I think you need to be very selective in who you follow and who follows you.
As Joan said it was fun following the TdU together. With no video and no one to share the joy with (that racing season had started), it was great to share it with my online friends. My favorite picture posted by Lance on Twitter was of Lance & George out to dinner one night before the race. That won’t be seen anywhere else. Without a forum that we feel comfortable using, Twitter does has it use.
Like so much else it can be garbage in, garbage out or it can be a useful tool if used correctly.

12. Debbie Scaife - January 27, 2009

One more thing I want to ad. I was driving home from work as a couple of stages were coming to an end. I was anxious to know what was happening, so I had twitter on my blackberry and was to read updates from JB. How cool is that to be driving in my car half a world away and read race updates from JB riding in the team car.

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