The Social Web May Have A Glorious Future, But It’s Still A Ways Off

Scott Karp consistently offers the most cogent analysis of new media in the bloatosphere. The guy is good. It seems like everytime I visit Publishing 2.0 he has well crafted arguments for me to chew on.
Last night I chewed on his “I don’t use Twitter anymore” piece and it resonates deeply. In fact, I tried to make a similar post earlier this week about all the apps that aren’t working for me, but it didn’t come together like I wanted. So, without further ado, let’s examine some of the reasons Karp no longer invests his time in Twitter.

Twitter is a massive waste of time.
The noise to signal ratio is WAY too high. And the temptation to Tweet for the sake of Tweeting is WAY too high.
An example of high noise to signal is the Twitter “half conversation” — where two users are talking to each other directly, but you only follow one of them. So you hear half the conversation, like listening to someone on their cell phone. It’s quasi-voyeuristically interesting sometimes, but mostly it’s just annoying.
Twitter has turned distraction into an art form.

Here’s his clincher:

In many ways, the web has become the new TV, i.e. a way to veg out — Twitter and Facebook make that time wasting social, which is probably a good thing on balance. But it still sucks time away from “real life,” i.e. family and work and having time to spend with people IN PERSON.

Several members of the technorati come to Twitter’s defense in Karp’s comments, but they miss the point that it’s a personal choice. Karp isn’t saying Twitter sucks, people need to refrain from being sucked into its black hole. He’s saying he needs to refrain, to avoid being sucked in to its black hole.
Karp is far from the the only person to seriously evaluate where they can justify spending time. On Kottke recently, the words “deleting your Facebook is the new Facebook” appeared. Kottke also mentioned (on Twitter) that he feels smug having never taken the Facebook bait. And Cory Doctorow recently explained how Facebook is not a sustainable activity. Clearly, resistance is in the air. But so are untold volumes of puffery and hype. Maybe the two will meet and the thunder will be heard ’round the ‘sphere.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.