- If Twitter founders Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey had asked people in a phone survey if they wanted a new service that's like blogging, but where you're not allowed to exceed 140 characters or post pictures directly, everyone would have said no, they wouldn't want that.
—How to Succeed Like Apple
Actually, I still don't understand how or why Twitter is so popular; when I look at my twitter page I can hardly tell what the heck is going on. Half the time I feel like I'm coming into the middle of a conversation, as people I follow -- I won't call them friends because not all of them are friends -- reply to other people they follow, whom I don't follow and whose tweets I can't see because their tweets are protected, and therefore prevent me from deciding if I want to follow them but gives me the impression that they probably wouldn't approve a follow request anyway.
Take the confusion you're feeling after having read that paragraph, and magnify it by ten times: that's how confused I am over my Twitter page.
The latest buzz is over the coming "new Twitter", a new interface. Mashable has even dared to say, "The new web interface effectively makes Twitter desktop clients irrelevant in the long run." But one look at the first screenshot on Mashable assured me that I'll continue sticking with TweetDeck and Sobees. All it took was seeing "5 new tweets" at the top of the page.
I don't want to have to keep refreshing the page to see my new tweets. If you can tell me I have five new tweets, why not show them to me? In the end, this is why I feel frustrated that Twitter is so popular. It doesn't work well straight out of the box; I have to install a third-party app to make it easier to use. That alone should have caused it to fail. Other than that, it doesn't encourage conversations -- it's good for broadcasting, for one-way communication; but two-way, not so much. Isn't "social media" supposed to help you, well, be social, and doesn't socialising include conversations, like a back-and-forth? Sure, you can go back-and-forth on Twitter, but it's impossible to properly track all the @ replies, and everybody else who's listening in either gets annoyed by the irrelevancies cluttering up their page, tantalised by intriguing bits of a one-sided conversation or finds their heads bouncing back and forth as they attempt to follow the trail of the @ ping-pong ball.
Why do I tweet, then? Oh, I resisted for the longest time. My Twitter account remained dormant. But many friends began tweeting and if I didn't tweet it ended up that I was the only one who didn't know what was going on... so I'm tweeting out of self-defense.