In theory a great concept to simplify communication and collaboration. Just 140 characters each. You either have to know how to convey your message in a very concise way or don’t even start. This is Nirvana for all extremely busy people in the world.
However, the creators of Twitter underestimated the potential of humankind to explore it in a negative way. But let me start with the positive developments, which are many and may stick for good:
- It was never so simple to tag a subject and filter by it. Hash tags are just a great concept.
- It was never so fast to get a response for an issue or question. Post it and if you created a relevant network, you’ll have a good answer extremely quickly.
- Therapy was never so cheap. Just open yourself to the world. With so little time and few characters, your tweet will get lost so quickly it may never be seen by anyone.
- It was never so personal. People were amazed to start receiving celebrity tweets, directly from their hands and brains (questionable), at the exact time they were thinking about it. And in some cases, few lucky mortals would even receive a reply.
- It was never so easy to have conversations during a seminar and exchange ideas, without disrupting the presenter, creating an extremely valuable parallel set of knowledge. Better yet, without even being physically close to anyone. Twitter has become the official way to whisper during live events.
I’ve stayed away from Twitter for about a week for personal reasons. I may have missed some interesting things but there was never intent to try to catch up. Then, for some time I thought: why should I go back there? Should I just delete my accounts — yes, I have 3 for different purposes — and forget about it?
The reason I thought that way is because there is too much noise to be able to filter what is really relevant. And because of that, many people are actually giving up Twitter.
Like any new thing, there is euphoria and then accommodation. Twitter as well as Facebook and other social networking solutions are at the highest point of euphoria. What will start now is accommodation, where people who already learned the pros and cons of such capabilities will adjust behavior. This is when quality replaces quantity. Massive clean-up, filtering and focus on relevance will take place. Following multiple people will only occur if you don’t care about what they say. Machine-like spitting tweets will actually make you lose followers.
The answer is yes, microblogging in general is going down. Not completely though. Just to a level where quality returns. It’s past the time people could get away tweeting like actual thoughtless birds. While one bird singing at a distance is relaxing, a thousand angry birds chirping at your ears at the same time is definitely not fun!
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--- Vinicius da Costa is Associate Director, Collaboration and Social Media Solutions at Kraft Foods. This text represents his personal opinion and does not represent the views of Kraft Foods, Inc.