One of my classmates brought up an interesting point which many who actively participate in the world of social networking have also questioned – is Twitter really worth it? After all, doesn’t Facebook already offer status updates? Doesn’t Facebook have mobile applications, a developer API, and a substantial user base? Absolutely!
So along comes the blue bird and “fail whale” combo of Twitter. Many who quickly signed up for it soon abandoned their accounts as they found the service… boring. I mean, you can’t type more than 140 characters. You can’t “friend” other people, per se. You can’t even be that compulsive creeper who stalks people via their photo albums. Heh, maybe Twitter is good in that sense.
Furthermore, there’s a lot of “Twitter garbage”, as some like to phrase it. No one cares if you’re at the gym… or in class… or posting links about headlines in healthcare. Or do they? Just like any other social network, you’re at the mercy of another individual’s feedback for as long as you “Follow” him/her, so stop griping and unfollow!
So is Twitter pointless? I don’t think so.
I love Twitter because of its simplicity. Often times, I find myself coming up with creative ways to abbreviate my thoughts into 140 characters (brevity really is the soul of wit). I’ve come to know several physicians and medical students across the nation via Twitter because of things I’ve “tweeted” regarding healthcare. That’s probably my favorite feature of the service, since I can’t exactly search for “other medical students” in Facebook’s search bar. This search also allows users to know “what’s happening now” with Twitter’s very helpful search engine (which Google is now tapping into).
Also, from a development perspective, Twitter has one of the most extensible APIs given how simple its service is. There are so many desktop clients, mobile phone apps, and web scripts available for consumers (a lot of them at no cost), it’s difficult to decide which one to use! I use Ubersocial for my Droid, and Digsby for Windows.
In conclusion, no one is forcing you to use Twitter, and if you are a user, no one is asking you to follow people who post status updates you find annoying. Use the free service for what it’s worth!