Twitter: Don’t Like It? Then Play Somewhere Else

SAN FRANCISCO — I was here on a simple quest: curious to know if the inventors of Twitter were as annoying as their invention. – Maureen Dowd, “To Tweet or Not to Tweet,” New York Times, 22 April 2009.

If Alexander Graham Bell were alive today, Maureen Dowd might ask him this question, based upon her recent interview with Twitter founders:

MD: How does it feel to have created a tool that makes it easy for drug dealers and prostitutes to connect with customers … or for salesmen to cold-call unsuspecting Americans while they are eating dinner? How can you hold your head up in polite company?

Dowd, like Jonathan Kranz at Ragan Communications, has confused the medium with the message (apologies to McLuhan).

Everything printed on newsprint does not deserve a Pulitzer, everything run on broadcast or cable television does not deserve an Emmy, and every telephone call does not deliver earth-shattering news about Iraq or Wall Street.

And there is no such thing as “the right way” to use the telephone, the Web or Twitter. But just about every new communication medium is poo-poohed by entrenched incumbents unable to see the proverbial forest for the trees. Twitter is no exception, just like the electrified communications technologies that preceeded it, starting with the telegraph.

Dowd also embues technology creators with foresight and control beyond their wildest dreams! It’s the rare innovation that is used exactly as the visionary anticipated. Hollywood didn’t anticipate VHS expanding the bottom line. Cellphone companies didn’t anticipate text message adoption rates in Europe. And it’s unlikely that Ev and Biz anticipated customer service calls, microblogging, oir reporting plane crashes and earthquakes when they created Twitter.

Both essays are excellent examples of why traditional news and PR (respectively) are unprepared for today’s media ecosystem.

If you don’t like high volume Tweet feeds, don’t follow people who post a lot. And if you don’t get Twitter, that’s perfectly OK. Just don’t demand that the rest of the world accept your (in my opinion shortsighted) judgment as the one-and-only true judgment.

Note: written in the wee hours on United flight, unable to sleep on 100% full flight, even in economy plus.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

2 replies on “Twitter: Don’t Like It? Then Play Somewhere Else”

[…] And yet the incumbent backlash has begun, on the heels of Twitter’s launch into popular culture courtesy of Oprah. It’s “a fad” according to Business Week. Nielsen claims it is unlikely to ever have more than 10 percent of all Internet users and, therefore, cannot be successful. Then there was last week’s screed from Maureen Dowd. […]

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