Leave it to Mashable to find some middle ground between all the Twitter love so evident during SXSW Interactive and the anti-Twitter haterade that’s spilling all around the blogosphere. Whether you believe Twitter is the ultimate in sharing important info in a timely, telegraphic fashion, or you think it’s an utter waste of time, Mashable’s Stan Schroeder has a message for both camps, and it is the most reasonable takes on Twitter I’ve read to date:
Twitter is popular precisely because it does not have a lot of features and options. The idea is for it to be simple, and tweets – since they were initially conceived as notifications of what you’re doing – weren’t supposed to carry any weight. Twitter is basically an omnidirectional instant messaging system whose advantage is the lack of management: you don’t really have to care who reads your tweets, and you don’t really have to reply.
If there’s one thing Twitter has going for it, it’s simplicity. With technology, simplicity and ease of use is usually a good thing. I also like the lack of management aspect. That makes it a difficult tool for management types (like me) who would love to harness Twitter’s power for instant communication to our audiences.
But Twitter is also pleasingly inane, and that is another reason why I like it. I agree with Schroeder when he says:
Personally, I consider all Twitter messages to be completely irrelevant, and I expect from all my personal friends as well as business partners to use some more reliable and better suited means of communication when the message is important or when they expect me to actually react. “I’ll be around Starbucks at 2” – cool, I might show up and I might not show up. If you really needed me there, you would have called.
One commenter on the Mashable post notes that Twitter is a useful tool for what he calls “personal newscasting.” That’s a useful term for it.