Twitter will/will not change your life

June 5, 2009 in Internet

Time magazine has Twitter on the cover and can't gush enough about how the service will change your life. Remember when they had you on the cover? This is totally different. This is you distilled into 140 characters, which, naturally, is better.

Obviously, I see the benefit of allowing people to upload their thoughts in real time, and make that available to curious readers. And perhaps the 140 character limit was what it took to get people to use the service often/quickly enough to make the concept work. But I have yet to hear a good argument for why this service is a life-changer. The few times I've gone to Twitter in search of real time information (plane over Hudson, shooter at Harvard, shooter at Princeton), I've had to sift through such a mass of garbage and RT's (and RT's of RT's!), only to find that there was no original information to be found anyway.

Mazel Tov, Twitter, you are the Geocities of the real-time generation: you allow anyone to get started but lack any of the features that truly make your service worthwhile. Your most intrepid users will find ways around your limitiations - frequently involving building applications around your API which are 100x as complicated as you are. Your novice users won't know the difference anyway.

I guess time will tell if I'm calling out the emporer's new threads or if the new look is for real, but I remain staunchly unconvinced that a service that allows 140 arbitrary characters to be broadcast, does not have any conversation tracking, relies on ad-hoc user defined hashtags for organization, has a search which is absolutely useless UNLESS you want the most recent information is going to change anything.

And the last time that Time claimed an invention would change everything, wasn't it the Segway?

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