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Why Twitter Sucks

by Rob Furber
13 February 2012 18 Comments

My relationship with Twitter is one of necessity and nothing more. It offers little in the way of intellectual betterment and I'm sick of people like Warne and Hurley banging on...

Working in the media it is mandatory to be on Twitter. Only, my relationship with it feels more akin to the one Terry Waite enjoyed with that radiator he was chained to for all those years. It is an unrelenting presence, offers next to nil by way of intellectual betterment, yet is impossible to escape from.

Celebs have infiltrated Twitter like an aggressive form of cancer, using it as a platform to boost their brand equity – an abhorrent marketing phrase in itself – building their follower numbers with all the glee of loony dictators in despot regimes. In return, they have their swaggering egos massaged by their worshippers who treat a Tweeted response as the ultimate validation of their sad existence. I know this from first-hand experience. I was made up the day Nadia Sawalha Tweeted me back. Lovely, sweet Nadia.

Most of the time, of course, any attempt to join in with the Twitter oligarchy will be greeted by cold indifference. Far from giving everyone a voice, Twitter excludes. It can feel like gatecrashing a glitzy showbiz bash, ear-wigging a conversation among the A-listers, before interjecting with a loud and hearty, Alan Partridge-esque ‘Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!’ in a desperate bid to ingratiate yourself, only to be on the receiving end of sneering stares.

There’s also this really annoying, holier-than-thou liberal elite that has now emerged; sort of an online Reich of political correctness, without the goose-stepping maybe but who get off instead by acting as judge and jury on the burning issues of the day. These keyboard warriors take to Twitter as soon as anyone in the public eye steps remotely out of line and feel smugly justified when their moral posturing is echoed by countless fellow Tweeters.

I could live quite happily before without hearing Fearne Cotton’s opinions on looting, or observing Piers Morgan and Sir Alan Sugar taking part in a massive cross-Atlantic, cock-waving Tweet off.

Twitter can be a force for good, proclaim this sorry mob. Sorry, but such grandiose pronouncements are starting to sound like the sort of hot air spliffed-up hippies were spouting at Woodstock circa 1969. ‘Yeah, man, we can change the world. We can expose our corrupt politicians, and bring down oppressive governments, and help clean up the streets. People power. WHOOOOO!!!! YEAH!!!!!’

The only real contribution the social media lynch mob have is to fuel this shameful climate of hysteria that now grips our once great nation, a place where ‘Outraged of Surbiton’ has the biggest say in things. And all this serves to illustrate is that we’ve barely progressed from the days of throwing rotten fruit at those in the stocks.

The Heat magazine generation, meanwhile, consider it fun to eavesdrop on all these famous people’s conversations and thrive on seeing them at their worst when they throw hissy fits. You know what. I could live quite happily before without hearing Fearne Cotton’s opinions on looting, or observing Piers Morgan and Sir Alan Sugar taking part in a massive cross-Atlantic, cock-waving Tweet off.

It’s also Twitter’s output of cheap and sanitised emotion that sticks in the craw. Z-listers chipping in with hollow sentiment and RIP Tweets when someone famous pops their clogs. And the likes of Shane Warne and Liz Hurley going to the extreme of sharing their love messages with an audience of thousands. Maybe I’m just an incredibly tasteful human being but I find this sort of stuff gratuitously shallow and disingenuous in the extreme.

Unless you’re famous, Twitter’s value is negligible. Is it really such a big deal to achieve fleeting notoriety conjuring up zeitgeist-laden bon mots of 140 characters or less that are rated highly enough by the Twitterati to be re-Tweeted? Just writing that sentence sums up how ridiculous things have got.

Kerry Katona has just Tweeted her views on the death of Kim Jong-il. Coming up. Harry Styles from One Direction on the Syrian uprising.

And besides, what is it with people’s desperate, obsessive desire to command an audience and share their every waking thought with others? Something must have gone seriously awry with people’s hard wiring when they can no longer enjoy tv without reaching for their laptops to record their experience on Twitter. It’s the online equivalent of staring at your digital camera screen for the duration of a live music gig.

It has got so pervasive, news stories are now accompanied by Tweets from the glitterati. Hold the front page. Kerry Katona has just Tweeted her views on the death of Kim Jong-il. Coming up. Harry Styles from One Direction on the Syrian uprising.

It has also spawned what is currently considered the uber-cool way of saying things but which grew tiresome and banal a nanosecond after hearing it for the first time, and if this isn’t reason enough for Twitter to die a slow, agonising death by a thousand cut and pastes I don’t know what is: ‘hashtag shocked’, ‘hashtag excited’, ‘hashtag have we all turned into gerbils?’

The real sickener? Twitter is one of the few ways to reach a meaningful audience these days. Look at me writing this tawdry piece of shit. Its only quantifiable success –how many times it is re-Tweeted. It would be the height of irony if this now goes viral.

How Much For a Celebrity Retweet?

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

Lee 10:00 am, 13-Feb-2012

you delightful cynic. I only use twitter for football news and match updates, fuck all else really. and there's nothing better than engaging in tedious football bitching every weekend under my till in work. there is some great fun to be had on twitter once your timeline is full of the bullshit that you prefer.

Rogue_Leader 12:40 pm, 13-Feb-2012

"online Reich of political correctness" Oh, dear. You were doing so well until that.

cleave 2:08 pm, 13-Feb-2012

Totally agree about the "twitch hunters". I tend to just follow news sites and blogs/magazines, makes life more tolerable!

cleave 2:12 pm, 13-Feb-2012

This article kind of sums up my feelings about the Twitter mob mentality http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/11853/

maxdog 3:10 pm, 13-Feb-2012

I went onto twitter a few weeks ago cos it seems a modern social necessity and have also found myself feeling empty and rejected when Jonathan Ross ignores my obsequious yet unbelievably witty tweets. I like this article cos at least I know now that Im not alone

Sam Diss 3:44 pm, 13-Feb-2012

Just unfollow boring people, follow funny/interesting people. I don't see what problem there can be with that, it's like a condensed version of life.

Dave lee 3:53 pm, 13-Feb-2012

Twitter's ace, man. If you don't want to hear what Shane Warne is saying, don't follow him. If a celeb attempts to improve their brand equity, unfollow them. If you use Twitter to try and engage with the famous then you're a bit of a pillock. There are loads of clever, funny articulate non-famous people interacting on Twitter and if you use the medium intelligently if can be a phenomenal force for betterment.

Danny H 5:22 pm, 13-Feb-2012

I agree with dave lee....spot on. Also this article I saw recently hit the nail on the head. http://www.searchandobserve.com/2012/02/why-i-hate-facebook.html?m=1

Ian Hough 5:39 pm, 13-Feb-2012

I have a Twitter and message board habit that I ascribe to living abroad and missing the English sense of humour, but most of this article is bang on, if not all. In fact, I tweeted a link to it just now to a guy on Twitter called Brandon Mendelson who's book "Social Media is Bullshit" comes out very soon. The irony is palpable. I've done something like 12,000 tweets and only have 800 followers. How fucking sad is that and why do I continue to engage? Fuck knows.

Harry Futile 7:21 pm, 13-Feb-2012

Why not , as suggested, ignore the blueticks and simply follow those that YOU find interesting? Find by serendipity, rather than the twatterish "Who to follow" cobblers. Another approach is to simply amuse yourself and see where it gets you. Who cares if it's nowhere!

Chris 8:05 pm, 13-Feb-2012

Ian, the reason you only have 800 followers is because you tweet crap!

Ian Hough 11:39 pm, 13-Feb-2012

Chris, EVERYONE tweets crap.

Big Vern 1:23 pm, 14-Feb-2012

you really don't get it do you?

Phil 1:05 pm, 16-Feb-2012

Spot on! Twitter is basically an online version of old hags gossiping over the garden fence but on a much wider (and sinister) scale.

Guy Woodward 11:48 pm, 16-Feb-2012

Rob - on the money, as always

Dragonverse 11:10 pm, 30-Mar-2012

I agree with David. And Ian, 800 followers is not bad. Quality/Quantity? I use it and get about 100 followers a week for branding by just following and RTs. If you have good content, you win...period. Content is king, the repost is queen :) The problem with most social media users is they don't have the marketing experience to create a campaign with attractive content first :/ And don't forget to check your followers because most of them may be porn or spam...who wants to see your brand rapped in "I wanna suck your :@.." Maybe thats why no one follows you?

zobop republic 7:08 pm, 11-Jan-2013

Twitter suspended my account after one of creating it. Because of that I HATE Twitter!

Dr Syderick Von Barrethoven 1:52 pm, 17-Feb-2013

twitter is what you make it. You obviously don't know how to make anything substantial of it.

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