I’m generally a little disintersted in technology when it has a vague reason for existing. LinkedIn was something I couldn’t see being important to users because connecting with people they didn’t know seemed like an anonymous popularity contest. And the people in the lead were the ones liked least, who excessively lobbied unknowing slutty linkers for clicks. Ew. And then suddenly, an application made sense. For the recruiter, it became the worlds biggest leads database. And for the average user, it became something other than a web of trusted connections; it became more of an information delivery system. Yeah, that changed things for me. Practical application.
Even working for a company like Microsoft, I get more excited about what our technology can mean for a business than how an average user creates a spreadsheet to manage their grocery list. Don’t get me wrong; it’s all important to me and I’m all about people doing what they want without any judgment about what they deem important. But the impact that we have in the world of business is the part that gives me chills.
And when I saw Twitter, it was new, moderately interesting in it’s novelty. I tried it…twice…and found the stream of updates on things that don’t matter to me, like the aforementiond lunch menu, very overwhelming and distracting; producing eye-rolling and sometimes an exasperated shut down. And this comes from someone that refers to communications on Facebook as conversations. Good lord, what has happened to me? The value of Twitter in a way that made sense, was a mystery to me. But now that there’s more mindshare around Twitter as a communication platform, well…in the words of Frasier Crane, “I’m listening.”
The article really paints the current state as more of a “look at how far we have come” where I see it as “look where we can go”. I mean, the statement: “Twitter is a democracy” doesn’t work for me. Twitter is an election for class president and I want to vote for Superintendent of Schools. What I mean is, Twitter isn’t a democracy until its usage permeates demographic segments. Does it represent the people? I mean THE people? No, it sure doesn’t. Trending the elections? Only if you are interested solely in the 18-30 year olds. Marketing Mountain Dew? OK, get em hooked on the caffeine bomb early…I get it. But I can’t pretend that what we are getting is democratized information. It’s not even close. But what we do have is a very interesting platform. It’s not everything but it is certainly something. And it’s good. The tweets on the jumbotron? Fun! A little chit-chat on the Beebs? OK, kids, have at it, even though it drives me nuts. Even coverage of large scale protests makes sense when we consider that the younger generations are much more active in this kind of event and pictures are pictures no matter the age of the finger on the camera button.
But as geeky as I can get over progress, especially when we are talking about a platform versus an application (case in point…may require password for first few days of publication), I am very wary of the media’s tendency to oversell a something (even an awesome something) as everything. So jury is still out on whether the potential of the Twitter platform truly revolutionizes the way that people communicate. I would certainly cast a vote in their favor. But if this is a democracy, I’m not sure that the vote of a 30+ counts yet.