Why I Almost Quit Twitter

Jose VilsonJose

Yoda says, "That is why you fail!"

Yoda says, "That is why you fail!"

Confession: I almost quit Twitter.

It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things since the Internet is teeming with social media networks, including my prohibitive favorite, Facebook. I joined MySpace in 2003, Facebook in 2004, LinkedIn in 2007,  and Twitter in 2008. Needless to say, I’m an early adapter, and a big reason for me adapting early is simple: if I’m not early with a trend, I come in very late. It means I get to understand the environment / culture of whatever I’m in, it means I get to help set a tone, and it also means by the time the social networks have way too many people, I already have an enclave of people I depend on for good conversation and transaction.

In each of those times, minus MySpace, things started off small, and then grew incrementally. I was pleased … until I started noticing Twitter trends that annoyed the hell out of me. In order from earliest to latest:

1. The obsession with “following” and “followers” annoyed me to no end. Can we just call them subscriptions or fans? I consider myself a leader, but I don’t like being followed. At all. It’s the NY in me.

2. Celebrities on Twitter, not just because they use it as free text messaging to their other celeb friends instead of, say, interacting with fans, nor because how human it made these “legends” (I love this actually). It’s because of how it makes “normal” people react when a celebrity replies back or, for that matter, doesn’t, whether they’re A-Listers or not.

3. Twitter marketers who tell others how to grow the number of people who follow you instead of talking about how to build more meaningful conversations.

4. The people who ask me to follow them back and when I go to their page, they don’t have anything I’m interested in.

5. The sordid messes of RTs, @s, and #s, especially those who do all of that in one tweet. It hurts my eyes.

6. The spam, the spam, the spam. As a computer science major, I understand how hard spammers are to catch, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying.

7. The lack of true openness in such a purportedly open medium.

8. The personal feelings attached to when someone you know actually unfollows you or whatever have you.

9. The vacuum and redundancy of people on Twitter as a whole (nor does it help when people in my Twitstream retweet those people, thus exposing me to the madness).

10. Twitter’s time as a viable means of real dialogue seems to be slowly fading.

With such a long list, one might think I should have left long ago. Some of my friends from the beginning of Twitter don’t tweet as often for personal and professional reasons. Even the ones who do tweet now don’t tweet as often as they should. Then another bunch just ODs with the sycophancy and don’t really set trends except if it comes after a hashtag.

And that’s sad.

So why stay? Couldn’t I just add them on Facebook, e-mail them, or :: gasp :: call them?

Yes. But until I find the next social network that’s extremely easy to use, keeps me updated in the fashion that Twitter does, and puts me in touch with some great people like I’ve met on there, and readily with no pretenses, I can’t see myself leaving just yet.  Until those last 10 points weighs more than the last point I made, I’ll stay on Twitter …

Then, I’m on to the next one.

Jose, who really wants to know what you think. Am I being too harsh? Too neurotic? Thoughts?