I tried. I really did. For five months I’ve chronicled my daily thoughts and activities for all to see. But despite my efforts, this really only confirmed what I suspected right from the start: that Twitter is really pretty pointless.
Now before you all flame me, I realise that some people do get a lot of value out of Twitter. I’m just not one of them. When I first dipped my toes in the water it became clear that Twitter suffers from a typical “chicken and egg” problem – it’s no fun if you don’t have anyone following you, and it’s hard to get people to follow you when it’s no fun. But I stuck at it, eavesdropping on the veterans and occasionally replying when something interesting came up. Over time this approach has brought me a few followers and the odd interesting conversation – but not enough to justify the investment it’s taken to get this far.
Looking at the people who sing Twitter’s praises, I think I know why. These people get value because they have thousands of followers. And they get thousands of followers by tweeting all the time. I’ve got no problem with people doing this, but frankly I’ve got other things to do (and besides, while I am geeky, I’m not that geeky :-).
I’m curious about the much-discussed surge in Twitter usage over the past year – how many people are really finding it valuable, and how many are, like me, giving it a go but yet to find the point. In any event I’m not throwing in the towel just yet – I’ll keep an eye out on what’s happening and may even contribute the odd tweet. But from now on, it’s up to Twitter to prove its worth to me – I’m done with trying to prove my worth to it.
So for at least a little bit longer, @tomhollander is happy to continue the conversation, just as long as interesting and not too much hard work.
I would just like to say: i totally agree.
I also have shared my somewhat anti-twitter veiws, and everyone gets 'all ancy' about it,
because they have the thousands following them etc..
Unfortunatly, i see twitter becoming like MySpace: everyone has one, but is lame.
I agree. Twitter is pointless.
I too wonder where people find time to twit all the time.
You must have seen the Supernews episode "Twouble with Twitters". If not, check it out:
Long time Twitter user and reader of your blog occasionally (depends on the topic:) ).
I'm not a Twitter expert or anything but I went back and read your tweets. I saw very little if few @replies and very little "joining in the conversation". Perhaps if you join in on the conversations (those that matter to you) I think you'll start to get more value out of Twitter.
One way to find conversations and people that share your same interest is to to get a good Twitter client that runs locally (alot of people like Tweetdeck) that supports Twitter Search integration. Something like Tweetdeck where you can setup searches and follow along is good thing. For example, what are people saying about EntLib? What's "pulse" of the community right now? A simple search at http://search.twitter.com/search?q=entlib can tell a great deal.
I just followed you, so join me in the conversation.
When someone can't figure out how to get something to work they invariably claim it wasn't any good anyway. If you took some time to figure out how to use it for "social" networking rather than just a place to tell the few people who might be interested what you had for breakfast, I think you'd come to a different conclusion.
Keith and Hugh -
I'm not blaming Twitter for anything - it is what it is, and a lot of people like it. And I also accept that if I were to put a lot more effort into it and change my approach then I may see different results (not that I ever mentioned my breakfast habits anyway. For the record I enjoy Vegemite on toast).
However no other communication tool I've used (e-mail, IM, blogging, Facebook, phone) has required so much conscious effort for me to realise value. And given the amount of continuous investment it apparently requires I'm not sure I'm missing anything that's important to me.
Twitter's not for everyone. My wife doesn't get it. I've closely examined her potential usage scenarios and no community that she would belong to exists on Twitter. I, however, bloody love Twitter.
I only use Twitter for professional and social-professional purposes. I am not a fan of social networking paradigms like Facebook and don't use Twitter that way (but some people do). As a commenter mentioned above, Twitter is really not useful as an information aggregator unless you use a client like Tweetdeck.
I love Twitter because it allows me to aggregate information from renowned people in our industry in way I've never been able to before. I follow tweeple like yourself, Bob Martin, Michael Feathers, and many more who deserve to be mentioned, because I consider you guys at the top of a professional/information totem-pole of which I am an aspiring apprentice. Mind you, as Scott Hanselman once alluded to (http://www.hanselman.com/blog/HowToTwitterFirstStepsAndATwitterGlossary.aspx) it's all about your "following" practices.
Despite me keeping my noise/signal ratio as low as possible, I guess what I have to say just hasn't been enlightening enough for Michael Feathers and Bob Martin to follow me. ;) I reckon that people like yourself, Tom, are going to get far less out of Twitter than someone like me, and that your involvement in Twitter would have to come from a mostly altruistic motive, because plenty of leeches out there (like myself) thrive on every character you utter. As always, however, not every form of expression is suitable to everyone, so stick to what's comfortable.
Regardless, I greatly appreciate you keeping a blog (and potentially a Twitter account), and one day I hope to service the developer community as much as you have.
Best'o'luck to ya m8.
Hello Tom! Your report about Twitter was very interesting. I've tried Twitter for a while, too and it's so BORING when nobody follows you. But in Germany Twitter isn't so popular like in USA and wherever. And besides nobody from my friends have Twitter, so it's even more boring and pointless. It sounds hard but when you are a "nobody" (like me :-) ) and you don't know anyone on Twitter, nobody follows you. It's different when you are a popular person, then you have thousand of followers.
But are you still on Twitter?
I don't think the value comes from having thousands of followers. I think you get much more value out of following the right people yourself. Once you've followed the right people you'll see it. Maybe.
You need more connections, mate. I think it's time to start the #followtomhollander campaign! :-)
Are you the acter Tom Hollander or someone else???