Friday, August 7, 2009

Twitter is ruining the world

This anti-Twitter rant appeared first as a note on my Facebook on July 16. The seven-day Tweet-fest mentioned below has already come and gone. Stay tuned for my reactions to using Twitter.

Twit (n.) - twerp: someone who is regarded as contemptible

When I first learned about Twitter a couple years ago, I really didn’t understand the point of it. Why would I also need Twitter to pour my heart out to the world? Filing Twitter in the “Pointless” folder, I moved on with my life.

Now that Twitter’s popularity has soared to incredible heights (as has its frilly little blue bird), I’m still left scratching my head over it. After research and putting some thought into it though, I’ve decided to stop scratching my head. I’m going to duck for cover, head to an underground bunker, build an ark, anything before Twitter gets me, and the rest of civilization as we know it. (Note: Apply within for vacancy on the ark, ladies.)

But before building my ark, I’m going to spend a week exemplifying the pointlessness of Twitter. For one week, I will tweet (*gag*) nonstop, about everything I do, every breaking news item that comes up, every interesting Web site I visit, every time I pee. And then, at the end, while I’m in rehab, you can decide for yourself if there is still hope left for humanity.

Now, before you go ahead telling me I have no authority or credibility to tell you Twitter is pointless, (even though I’ve been designing Web sites for over 10 years, am the Web media director of the nation’s oldest and largest student-run college TV station, and just finished up 10 weeks at MTV working in the same office as one of the world’s most powerful digital professionals) … consider these points, collected from research and people who agree with me.

Twitter is limiti…

We live in a world where you can stream live video across hemispheres. Twitter, in all of its mighty innovation, doesn’t natively support sharing of multimedia. It only supports sharing of text. And it doesn’t even do that right. You can tweet no more than 140 characters at a time. I’m already 146 characters over that limit in this paragraph alone. Make that 213 over.

Twitter just copies and waters down existing technology

We’ve all already got Facebook statuses. We’ve got blogs. They’re amazing, they’re just like Twitter, but you can type more than 140 characters, and add pictures and videos! We’ve got RSS feeds to aggregate blogs and news. And for even longer, we’ve had megaphones to shout random thoughts to everyone within earshot.

It’s bad for you

Because Twitter’s platform is designed for frequent updates, twittereetweeterers are at an increased risk for damaging the physical health of their hands and fingers by constantly forcing them through repetitive motions, often on tiny cellphone keypads.

Twitter even brought an untimely death to one girl, who died by electrocution while tweeting.

And twitter isn’t just physically harming people. It’s also socially, mentally and emotionally harming people. Studies show rapid Twitter updates may be too fast for the brain’s moral compass to process. What’s more, the twitterverse (*throws up in mouth*) separates people from reality. Too concerned about keeping up an online stream of consciousness, twitterers are separated from the present and miss out on what’s going on in the real world around them.

This just in: Britney Spears and Rick Astley are dead

Those are just a few rumors that Twitter has helped perpetuate. With no means in place to check accuracy, rumors like these fly fast on Twitter.

twittas destroyin da english language

Twitter is doing nothing to help the disgrace of the written word that instant messaging initiated. With a character limit, the focus becomes strictly on content with no regard for standards. Good grammar and spelling are a thing of the past. Punctuation is lost altogether. Being instantly published, even corporations and news organizations using Twitter may not have a mechanism in place to check errors. As a result, our words become lose meaning, and we become dumber.

No one cares

By definition, twitter means noise, chitter, a series of bird chirps. By and large, that’s what is being broadcast on Twitter. Noise. A columnist from CNET, one of the leading technology news Web sites, agrees. And this video does a entertaining job of pointing out how “it seems like twittering is just randomly bragging about your unexceptional life.”

Decide for yourself: Follow me on Twitter all next week

Starting Sunday, July 19 at 12:01 a.m., I’ll start tweeting, and won’t stop again until the following Saturday at 11:59 p.m. Partially because I’m home and need something to do. Partially because I’m a shameless self-promoter. But mostly to make a point: Twitter is ruining the world.

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