Monday, January 27, 2014

Outliving Twitter...

There has been modest pressure from a few readers, etc. for me to be more active on Facebook and Twitter. Very modest.  But aside from the the time I don't want to spend checking my phone more, it could be these peculiar media have their own built-in obsolescence.
Take Justin Bieber, for example.As reports of the once-angelic and deeply troubled Canadian pop star’s arrestbegan to make its way around the web, reactions streamed onto Twitter, ranging from jokes to tongue clucks.But by far, the most common refrain was something like this: “Why is this news??”The simplest answer is that it wasn’t — at least not the most important news happening on that particular day. But Twitter isn’t really about the most important thing anymore — it stopped being about relevancy a long time ago. Twitter seems to have reached a turning point, a phase in which its contributors have stopped trying to make the service as useful as possible for the crowd, and are instead trying to distinguish themselves from one another. It’s less about drifting down the stream, absorbing what you can while you float, and more about trying to make the flashiest raft to float on, gathering fans and accolades as you go.How did this happen?A theory: The psychology of crowd dynamics may work differently on Twitter than it does on other social networks and systems. As a longtime user of the service with a sizable audience, I think the number of followers you have is often irrelevant. What does matter, however, is how many people notice you, either through retweets, favorites or the holy grail, a retweet by someone extremely well known, like a celebrity. That validation that your contribution is important, interesting or worthy is enough social proof to encourage repetition. Many times, that results in one-upmanship, straining to be the loudest or the most retweeted and referred to as the person who captured the splashiest event of the day in the pithiest way. [More
Meanwhile, the predicted imminent demise of Facebook was proven to be just bad math, but there are some indications that some type of saturation has been reached.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, as many as 61 percent of Facebook members have tuned out the website for weeks and sometimes months at a time. The reasons listed for these extended breaks are as banal as they are predictable: 21 percent of those surveyed “are too busy/don’t have time for it”; 10 percent “just aren’t interested/just don’t like it”; and another 10 percent simply think it’s a “waste of time.” [More]
Jan uses FB and finds it helpful, but even she is noticing how it can get out of hand. There is usefulness, but you attract a lot of barnacles as the ship steams on. And it is a major time suck.

Meanwhile, as oldsters dip their wrinkled toes in the social media waters, horrified hipsters are screaming out of the water. This is not good news for advertisers looking for that highly desirable young adult cohort.

It seems to me we wear out new toys faster and faster. I've always suspected that Twitter could have a short-half life since it is built around snark as communication. The short zinger is the winner tweet. It also fails to give context for complex issues.

That said, for breaking news or unexpected events (like Bob Costas during Congressional action) it may continue to be a go-to source, languishing is a swamp of trivial self-serving celebrity chasing in between.

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