Twitter the thought bubble

Liam Walsh wrires: Today is probably the last real work day of the year for most of us, so a meaningless poke at the digital equivalent of Big Brother seems appropriate.

I didn’t quite understand why it was called twitter until I saw what it did. Now I get it, a succession of chirping sounds. It is also a very cute image of a bird.

So it is an opportunity for people to talk about the minutiae of their day and ‘socialise’ this with their friends and network.

Twitter feels like the best go at creating a giant digital thought bubble.

It doesn’t take advertising, yet. presumably it seems to be some sort of tool created to better society, perhaps like Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is an organism which has no revenue model (besides donations) but it is easy to look at it and think about how they want to remain independent and provide a service uncorrupted. Quite noble.

Much as I try, the only similarity I can find between these two is the no discernible revenue model element. Wikipedia is quite good and twitter is indulgent nonsense.

It is quite revealing though to see what life would be like if all of us had giant thought bubbles operating 24/7. Having spent a while looking at twitter posts, it is probably not a good example of the power of humanity to overcome obstacles. Actually it is not a good example of anything to do with the success of humans.

I particularly like 140 character limit of people doing what they do each day. This is a guarantee that nothing substantial can be posted or thought. Of course some will say simple is best and I am sure Forest Gump would agree, perhaps George Bush would too, it is just that I don’t.

I breathed.

I ate my breakfast and watched television.

The bus was late, it was green. Not hybrid green, just painted green.

My boss said life is a series of choices.

Hey suzie where is my ten bucks.

I am breathing again, wonder if I can breathe and talk at same time.

Wow I can! Wonder if I can walk, breath, talk and look at my feet at the same time?

No way!!! I can.

I am walking to the toilet.

If this blogging is the future and worthy of panel discussions then I am backing film cameras to make a come back

I still really like the bird image though. Here’s hoping the bird can’t read what’s on the page.

Ben Shepherd writes: I like it – I follow bands I like as well as people I am interested in. For me it acts as RSS but easier and even simpler. I follow blogs I like reading (SAI, TC, All Things D, Stickywood, Julian etc) as well as LA Lakers info, Djs, etc … I do enjoy reading what everyone is thinking, doing etc.

At times it does feel like it’s just a feed for inane banter … but inane banter isn’t that foreign to me working in the media industry … so it’s easy to disregard this and focus on the good.

However, it frustrates me in some ways for a few reasons.

Namely the twitterati – I mean wtf?? Self annointed marketing/media experts that constantly either reference themselves or the twitter platform and take shots at media channels that aren’t in beta anymore. Just piss off, no one cares about your rank/authority etc … I guess the benefit of twitter is you don’t have to put up with them anyway aas you choose who you follow. If you believe these guys – it is twitter now that is breaking news, not the rest of the media world … okay then.

Commercially I can’t see how it will make money and ultimately sustain itself. As a medium it is still extremely niche – look outside your immediate circle of people you talk internet with and you will see … from my friend group outside of work I’d say 5 people have played with it – 4 of them are off it now. In terms of an ad platform I don’t see it and believe me I have spent time thinking about it.

I guess the Internet loves talking about itself and predicting which one of its inventions will change the world, and given Facebook isn’t really that cool anymore in the eyes of the tech world and isn’t really living up to its 9 digit valuation, Twitter is the one people are looking at as the next big IPO/acquisition that makes developers/engineers feel that they too could be rich one day.

Some people have disucssed subscription models for twitter – oh man, this is so far off the mark. Like it or not, twitter will need an ad model.



2 responses to “Twitter the thought bubble

  1. Hi Liam,

    I’m a relatively new convert to Twitter ( and there’s nothing worse than a new zealot, but I’m already getting enormous value out of it as a journalist. I’d argue that there’s more to it than indulgent nonsense.

    I sit here with my 108 RSS feeds (I just counted), looking to get on top of something as soon as it breaks.

    Yet even the stuff I wrote yesterday was driven by Twitter. I got a great piece on PR embargoes: after following a link in a Ross Dawson Twitter.

    I had a head start on the piece I posted yesterday about Omnicom’s global cuts ( ) because people were twittering about it before RSS feeds had caught up.

    I now know of an interesting report that someone’s writing that will make some coverage for me.

    And later today I’ll be talking to – and writing about – a brand new agency, who’ve been Twittering about what they’re up to, which is how I found them.

    Twitter is also working as a marketing tool for me. If I write something on Mumbrella that the Twitter community might be interested in, I post a link. That’s been garnering some good traffic. The fact that those who follow the link are tending to look at more than one page before bouncing away suggests that they’re getting some value too.

    Of course there is some garbage on Twitter – that’s why it’s worth Unfollowing the minutiae enthusiasts. But most of all, it depends who you follow.



  2. Like Tim, except for the part about being a journalist and finding hot leads on stories, for me Twitter is simply a nice alternative to an RSS feed page. The worst thing you can do is use it to follow your friends. You only have to look to Facebook status updates, where the wit of a person´s status comments are directly and inversely related to the frequency with which they are updated, to realise this isn´t a good idea. I think you can imagine the mind numbing boredom when you´re looking at a page that´s only about the status updates of your personal network. So use it to follow your favourite bloggers instead.

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