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What's The Point Of Twitter?

Determining the reality of Twitter might be a question best reserved for later, or never. Reality’s difficult enough in the so-called “real” physical world. The trouble with Twitter, like the trouble with many things people will argue about, is a trouble originating with humans, not the thing itself: the need to define a thing.

What is it? What is it used for? What is its potential? What are the limits? Who else is using it and why? What can we learn from it? Should I be using it too? Is it okay if I walk away from it? Do I have to use the word “tweet?”

While you’re at it, ask yourself what is the meaning of a fallen leaf, if there really is one main sound from which all sounds spring, what is the likelihood of becoming one with a stone and understanding its stone-ness, and whether you should wear acid-washed jeans should they ever come back in style.

The frontrunner for answering the Twitter reality question is that all signs seem to point toward “yes.”

Is it useful? Yes. Is it a waste of time? Yes. Is it not a waste of time? Yes. Is there not a point to these questions? Yes.


Some are simply walking away from the questions. Andrew Baron put his Twitter account, and his 1,400 followers up for auction on eBay. Why? He wasn’t really using it. As you might imagine, this sparked all kinds of other questions, including whether or not an individual Twitter account, like someone’s stream-of-consciousness, has real monetary value. Current bid is $1,125.

Hugh Macleod didn’t waste much time explaining or pondering the monetary value of his account. To him it was worth the amount of time it took to hit the delete button.

For those not sniffing and walking away, new applications are popping up with more frequency to help make the most of your Twitterized reality. Most recently, there’s, a sort of real-time version of Techmeme, selectively pulling from tweets emanating from the Important Bloggers Club.

If, while your BlackBerry is inaccessible, your thumbs are involuntarily tweeting onto the pages of Sky Mall, you can plan ahead to ease your OCD by using TweetLater, which allows you to schedule tweets in advance of your absence.

Which makes it sound really important. Or pathetic, one.

For me, it’s not about collecting followers. You can never be too sure, as with anything on the Internet, what’s real and what’s not. This morning I was tested by Andre Nantel, whose new Twitter account asked “RU4Real?” The experiment yields just how many either blindly follow, or have scripts that make them blindly follow.

About the Author:
Jason Lee Miller is a WebProNews editor and writer covering business and technology.