Regardless of the topic, I hate sensationalism. Living in London, the Evening Standard headlines give me all the sensationalism I need each day, so generally I try to avoid it. When I do stumble upon blog post titles like Three Hidden Dangers of Twitter, I try to remain optimistic and give the author the benefit of the doubt. For all I know, Twitter shags sheep, causes cancer and eats babies for breakfast. So in the interest of being an informed citizen ready to protect the world from having its soul swallowed via SMS, I read on.
It turns out that the hidden dangers are only dangerous if you’re writing yet another linkbaiting list-based post and need that crucial attention-grabbing headline. True that the author’s technique worked because I linked to his post, but it was good in the sense that it helped me coalesce the ideas I’ve been having about Twitter ever since I started using the service a few months ago. By no means is this a comprehensive collection of every Twitter-related thought I’ve had, nor is it an annoyingly quantified list like “The Top 27 Ways To Be A Dick” or “The Leading 73 Reasons To Drop More Acid”. It’s just a few ideas that crossed my brain whilst eating a sandwich and reading about undangerous dangers.
- Frequently Twitter’s detractors complain that it doesn’t have a business use. Meanwhile, others suggest exploiting it for its business use. So the question remains: does Twitter have a business use? First, I don’t care if it has a business use. Too many things have a business use. Maybe it just has a life use. That’s fine by me. Second, articles like Monster.com’s How Twitter Can Help Your Career tell you how to fine-tune your use of the service in order to boost your reputation in your professional field. How Twitter Can Help Your Career… and lead to more incredibly boring, self-serving tweets from overly ambitious twats.
- Don Steinberg sees the fun and the business potential in Hacking Twittter For Fun and Profit. Most of his business-related points aren’t about the bottom line, despite the title, rather they highlight ways to engage your customers. Yes, this may lead to a profit eventually, but that’s the point of business. There’s nothing wrong with making a little money, but there’s also nothing wrong with having fun acquiring it and finding ways to make people happy along the way. I completely disagree, however, with his suggestion that anyone should use Twitter to monitor a group project at the office. That’s a sure fire way to bore the living shit out of anyone that’s not sitting in the same room as you between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. His suggestions to “compose classic Twitterature”, “get some answers” and “be a very mini-blogger” are brilliant ways to see the service as more than it claims to be itself when it asks you to simply tell us what you’re doing right now. If you blog, try as a writing exercise to use Twitter as your mini-blog. For thoughts that need no more than one or two sentences, this service is perfect. There’s no need, nor room, for filler. Tweets can be the pure pop brilliance of the single instead of the bloated album that only has one good song.
- Updates from faraway friends, especially the minutiae, make these friends feel closer. I recently moved country and when it’s 3 p.m. for me and I see an old friend of mine post about eating breakfast, in a small way it takes me there. It may be irrelevant to you, but you don’t have to follow my friend, you can follow your own friends and if you’re lucky get taken into the quiet moments of their days.
- Oscar Wilde would have loved Twitter. Some of his best aphorisms would have worked marvellously as tweets. Some ideas only need 140 characters to be expressed. Shakespeare famously wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit” and had 114 characters left to spare.