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Is Twitter Really Useful? (Or is it Simply a Seductive Time-Waster?)

Published November 22, 2009 - 1 Comment

I’ve been a Twitter user for a long time..  way before Oprah made it “fashionable” to broadcast your life in 140 character snippets.  My original account (@Dunnik) was created on June 17, 2007 and would still be active today if I was smarter than I am.  Don’t bother trying to re-create your Twitter account if you’ve also canceled the email address assigned to it.  It’s just not gonna happen.

So my question is this… Is Twitter actually useful?  For the average person, does it really matter if someone is having a coffee at their favourite café, or thinking about going to the gym?  Is it anything more than a scorecard for a giant internet popularity contest?

When I look at the people who I am “following”, I can basically see it broken down into 3 categories:

1. Friends and  Family.  These are the people who I know and can personally relate to.

2. Celebrities. For whatever reason, we feel it necessary to try to “connect” with these people.  I’ll give some of them credit.  Whether musicians, actors, business, or whatever kind of celebrity they are.. some of them actually interesting.  I’ve added quite a few (more out of novelty than anything) and slowly gotten tired of most of their ramblings, and removed most.

3. Interesting unknowns.  Most of these people tend to be local, and they’re people who I could pass in the street and not have a clue that I had just done so.  I’m not sure what it is about following local strangers’ lives that’s interesting, but it can be.  And although I don’t really have any intention of ever meeting these people, rarely a common interest might make that happen, as it did in the case of @razzberri1973.

But really… is there any actual benefit to either following, or being followed, on Twitter?  Or are we simply trying to score popularity points in the big internet sandbox?

I wonder.

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