There, I said it.
Two years ago, it was really easy to find meaningful conversations on Twitter. Lots of signal. Little noise. Sometime over the last couple of years, though, things changed.
Now there’s lots of noise. Mindless retweeting. Daily quotes. Follow Friday has devolved into a laundry list of everyone you follow.
Twitter Is Making Us Dumber
I was at Technology Services World in Santa Clara was last week and something strange happened.
In all the sessions I attended, people looked at the speaker. They asked questions. They interacted with each other. Their faces were illuminated by the overhead lighting - not the pale glow of laptop screens and iPads.
More noteworthy, though, is what didn’t happen: People did not post smarmy comments and out-of-context quotes on Twitter.
The back-channel at TSW was surprisingly quiet. You can see it for yourself using #TSIA or #TSW11. The former is the official hashtag. The latter is the one many people used instead.
And you know what? The sessions were awesome. The discussions were awesome. The people were awesome.
140 characters can never do a presentation justice. Because meaning and enlightenment aren’t in the content. They’re in the context.
Going Old School
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media.
One meaningful blog post after a great conference session is far more valuable than a 100 tweets. It allows for subtlety. It allows for nuance. It allows for context.
It also allows for both linear and tangential conversation in the comments section that actually tie back the original message. Every try following a multi-person Twitter conversation? It’s just silly.
Again, context matters.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. You can also catch all of my out-of-context ramblings at @ChrisFerdinandi.
PS: Why did discussion forums go out of style? They’re just like Twitter… but better. They offer all of the same “follow a person” features, but without the stupid 140 character limitations.