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Thursday, May 28, 2015

10 Reasons Why Twitter Sucks - BOYCOTT TWITTER

There's more than 10 now, but the main reason is that it is now selectively censoring Independent Media for not being "politically correct" in using Twitter for newsfeed: BOYCOTT TWITTER, CAN THEIR ADVERTISING, TUNE THEM OUT - Today The 5th Estate, tomorrow YOU  

By Robin Bloor

About a year ago I wrote Ten Reasons Why Twitter Rocks It’s time to provide a counterbalance. Nevertheless, I should be honest here and admit to being a confirmed tweeter. So if anyone working for Twitter reads this, please take it as constructive criticism. Otherwise consider it to be a vintage whine. Here are 10 aspects of Twitter sulkiness:

1. It’s a jungle: I have no doubt whatsoever that there is a vast host of valuable information being injected into twitter second by second. The problem is that there is no way for you or I to mine that information in a useful way. It’s like a huge jungle filled with creatures of every size and variety making every kind of noise they can make, from screams of anguish to grunts of satisfaction. 

All the points below are variants on this theme, so I guess you could say this is the summary. But it’s really frustrating to me. We need to cut down the jungle and replace it with well farmed land. (I guess that’s not a politically wise allergy to use these days).

2. You can only broadcast: It’s true that on Twitter you can engage one other individual in private conversation, but only if you are following them and they allow you private contact. There’s no possibility of conferencing between 3 people. It means that you have to change channel if the need for conferencing arises.

3. The broadcast is ineffective: When you broadcast you have no idea who is going to read the tweet. Let’s say you’ve just had a sex change and want to announce it on Twitter. It’s the kind of thing that Twitter ought to be useful for. You really don’t want to surprise people you know with a gender switch, so a bit of forewarning goes a long way. Let’s just imagine you’ve “taken a trip to Trinidad” and had your warhead dismantled. You tweet “John is now gone, so call me Louise please” or something of that ilk and you expect everyone to get the message. But they’ll only get the message if they happen to be reading twitter at the time. It’s quite possible that no-one will get the message because they’ve all got their tweeting eyes on a hurricane in Florida.

Twitter allows and assists the NSA in spying on users
4. You have no idea who reads your tweets: And neither in fact does Twitter. It just sucks those tweets in and sprays them out. 

You cannot mark the tweet in any way that will indicate that you want it to sit in someone’s tweet stream until it is, at least, displayed. Neither can you stop it being shown to someone who follows you, unless you go private. You have no control.

5. You have no idea what impact the tweet had. If you have a name like John Smith, it’s hopeless. Don’t even think of announcing your sex change. Even if you have a name like mine (Bloor) which is uncommon, there is no way you can track down all the tweets that mention you, because Bloor is also a district and street in Toronto, even discounting all other Bloors. So if the word’s out that “Smithy had a sex change” and it gets retweeted many times, it’s just going to create confusion. Which Smithy, which direction?

6. Twitter has no useful usage stats. I’d love to know when the best time to tweet is, but I have no idea. Let’s say I want to get the maximum coverage for something I say. I’m a marketing guy and we’re launching a new gender enhancing product. I want to know when to tweet the fact and also how many times to do it (without annoying people). Nobody has any idea about such things. It’s a crap shoot. Tweet and be damned.

7. Following is ineffective: When you follow up to about a hundred people you get a digestible tweet stream (depending on how frequently they all tweet) but beyond that it’s just a galloping thought stream. I no longer even read the full tweet stream – it’s like trying to get a drink of water by lying on your back on a raft under Niagara Falls. It’s impossible. But to follow more than one group I need to set up multiple identities and then I have to manage multiple identities. That’s hopeless. I’ve tried it. Don’t bother.

8. The hash word is hopeless: The recent enthusiastic use of the #topic (such as #3wordsaftersex or #3wordstobreakup, etc) is useless because there is no formal taxonomy that anyone can refer to. It also consumes characters in you tweet – and it’s worth making this point en passant – so does retweeting. Why not a retweet button and make the @part separate or is that too innovative for Twitter. Because of the character limitation, people have taken to dropping the # itself which defeats the purpose and increases the noise to signal ratio.

9. Long tweets need handling better. At least we got past the constraint of 140 characters (with Twitlonger) which can be a real drag because sometimes just a little more is required. And while I’m at it I may as well acknowledge the very rare appearance of the Fail Whale nowadays, which means that at least Twitter has learned something about writing software efficiently or where fry’s is so it can buy another server every now and then. Twitlonger is better than nothing, but not much. Why not just embed the Twitlonger capabiltiy.

10 Twitternesia: After about 20 days Twitter deletes every tweet you’ve made unless you marked it as memorable. This is so sad. There are many interesting people on twitter saying, on occasion, quite memorable things. It is all being gradually lost unless there’s someone deliberately collecting it. And it’s not as if it would be so hard for Twitter to provide a logging capability. Does disk space really cost that much anyway? Google give you gigabytes of it for nothing.

Robin Bloor is co-founder and Chief Analyst of The Bloor Group. He has more than 30 years of experience in the world of data and information management. He is the creator of the Information-Oriented Architecture, which is to data what the SOA is to services. He is the author of several books including, The Electronic B@zaar, From the Silk Road to the eRoad; a book on e-commerce and three IT books in the Dummies series on SOA, Service Management and The Cloud. He is an international speaker on information management topics. As an analyst for Bloor Research and The Bloor Group, Robin has written scores of white papers, research reports and columns on a wide range of topics from database evaluation to networking options and comparisons to the enterprise in transition.

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