Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Like many, many people, I just don't get Twitter. Nor do I want to. For the record, I am also not a fan of instant messaging, and tend to turn it off from gmail, Facebook, and other sites where it rears its ugly, unwelcome, interrupting head.

A few of my chums seem quite taken with Twitter, and there does seem to be an overlap between those who provide too much detail about their daily doings and those who use iPhones. I'm sure these things feed into each other. And some of them seem to have hooked up their twitterings to their Facebook account, meaning that I get that absurd level of detail turning up on my Facebook feed. It's really irritating, and I've resorted to hiding updates from friends who do this.

It got me thinking that the only way this technology is going to be acceptable to me is when it allows some sort of metadata that indicates how important the update is. That way, I can stay in the loop about important things that my friends are up to (e.g. if one of them is doing a show I might want to attend), but don't need to hear the trivial stuff ("going to the toilet", "in the toilet", "wiping" ...)

Of course, there's a lot more overhead involved, because I would have to specify what level of update was acceptable to me, and they would have to set the level each time they posted an update. Would it ever work? Or will we have to wait until the software is clever enough to understand whether a tweet is really significant (my gran has just died - she's gone for ever) or not (my gran has just dyed - she's gone for burnished beech-nut).

Not surprisingly, given the confusion of terms around twitter - tweets, tweetings, twittering - it is very tempting to call those who use it either twits or twats. Not that I ever would, of course.

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