Loren, You’re Wrong About Twitter

Now, I’m not one for poking a wasp’s nest (been there, done that!) but Lorne Feldman is wrong about Twitter.

His post explaining why people tolerate Twitter’s up-and-down service features wide, sweeping generalizations, highlighted by the fact he believes Twitter users are frustrated bloggers with no readers and no comments, or people who are just bored with life or work.

There are many people who fall into these categories but Loren isn’t looking at Twitter’s potential as an interesting, focused and useful communications tool.

What Loren fails to acknowledge is you can use Twitter in whatever way you want. If, as Loren suggests, you want to write “pablum” you can do that, and there many people who happily do that, although it’s beyond me who would want to actually read the everyday details of your life (e.g. Traffic jam on I-95; Eating a cheeseburger, Hey, it’s sunny outside, etc.)

But Twitter can also be used to receive and consume information; you can use it to keep in touch with friends, peers and colleagues; you can use it as a marketing vehicle; or as a mini-blogging platform.

It’s the multi-dimensional aspect that has drawn people to Twitter despite its ongoing technical woes. I’m not suggesting Twitter is going to go mainstream any time soon or at all but it does deserve a little respect.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of Twitter is people keep sticking around as opposed to trying other services such as Pownce or Jaiku. Maybe it’s like drinking Coca-Cola; once you grow accustomed to the taste, there’s no way you’re going to try Pepsi even if it tastes as good or better.

Here’s Loren’s video if you’re curious:

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  • E Guy

    Are there not lots of quasi real time communications platforms? Twitter’s value proposition is “what are you doing right now” which for most people represents pretty dull activities and the novelty of reading such dullness wears off quickly.

    Twitter is another flavour of the month application unless it can be targeted and deliver a value proposition that is increasingly useful for specific audiences…like capturing immediate reactions to an event, presentation, etc. that can be monitored and reacted against. This real time feedback for organizers of an event or better yet for the speaker can be highly useful…and imagine the interactivity aspect of connecting with the audience that is generating the reactions with proposed solutions / alternatives if the feedback is negative. Very powerful potential.

    The days of a mainstream application for Twitter are remote at best over the medium to long term.

  • Mark Evans

    E Guy:

    While I would push back on whether Twitter is flavor of the month, I do agree that Twitter will find new audiences as it people find new ways to use it.

    Your conference example is right on the mark. At mesh last week, we (I’m one of the organizers) were able to tell in real-time monitoring Twitter how attendees felt about the keynotes, panels and workshops.

    It was pretty fascinating to see reaction come so quickly.

  • E Guy


    I find it hard to believe that people on a mass basis will be interested to know that their friends are driving to pick up milk…

    Application needs to find more value (which will mean targeted toward certain verticals) to be a sustainable business…or alter their existing application to find value for the masses. If not, it will be a flavour of the month.

  • Mark Evans

    I totally agree about talking about “milk”, which has little value..unless you and your friends are really into milk.


  • Mark M

    Good article. There is a serious lack of creativity in people who think there is only one way to use this app.

  • Cyndy Aleo-Carreira

    I can’t watch. Only with the puppets. I watch the puppets. ;)

  • Danielle Restivo

    I was recently in Chicago for a PR conference and was surprised to hear that misconceptions about Twitter are still fairly common. Many attendees felt it was only useful for teenagers to tell each other their plans for the day, or that it was merely for banal personal updates. I explained its many uses from networking, to sharing links, to spreading the word about events or news items. There was still a great deal of skepticism.

  • Mark Evans


    A lot of people were skeptical about Facebook as well, calling it a service for students. I guess they were wrong.

  • David Beckemeyer

    Who said people stopped being skeptical about Facebook? Sure, it got a lot of money from MSOFT and that’s a success for some of the investors – but the jury is still out as to whether it will really have google-like legs and staying power – for a lot of people, it looks like a fad that fades – they play with it for a little while and then find better ways to waste spend their time.

    We in the tech. world often forget how far we are removed from the mainstream – facebook seems to us like it is “everywhere” and “old news” but it is still niche and barely known in the mainstream.

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  • E Guy

    There are many ways to use the Twitter app…the problem is the only way the majority of users use the app is for trivial diatribe. The app seems to have limited use for the masses. It could find a home in specialized vertical applications but then it becomes a niche player.

    Niche app or flavour of the month mass app. Either way, I suspect the outcome is not part of the original plan.

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