I have always suspected that the trendy new web 2.0 tools are not for everybody’s taste, and now I was able to thoroughly experience what it is like to be on the side of the non-adopters and how they might be put off by some trends.
Being curious about why so many people are shifting from blogging to microblogging, I created a Twitter account and was willing to get into it. (Thanks to the nice welcome by my followers.) But after one week, I knew that this is a tool that does not suit my preferences.
As Jon Kruithof nicely summarized it after his week one:
“One downfall is the lack of context.”
Following the long, linear, unstructured stream of uniformly shrinked messages is just a strain for me. Without context, it is more difficult to recognize what might be interesting and also more difficult to dive into the topic if it does look interesting.
Furthermore, if the statuses are only announcing blog posts or only communicating bookmarks (often not even annotated bookmarks), then I prefer my RSS reader. (In fact, I suspect that one factor of microblogging’s success is that RSS is still not yet optimally leveraged.) And the cryptic tinyurls without clicktext bug me (although I never advocated that URLs should be “speaking”, but at least they offer some hint about the not yet followed links).
Also Jon dislikes the twitter use of merely sharing information (see his week 3/4). And it is not incidentally that he, like me, dislikes using IM software, as well.
Clearly, I don’t belong to microblogging’s proper target audience. But nevertheless I increased its success statistics by one. I wonder if this pattern contributes to the hype cycle. Somewhere in the ascending slope, there are both
- people whose preferences and needs are met,
- but also people who do it because it is “in”.
Then, in the “trough of disillusionment”, types like me drop out, and as the statistics decrease, those who do it because it was “in” lose their incentive and drop out, as well. So probably, looking at the styles and preferences would be more rewarding than just staring at the numbers.