ShaneMcLean.com

Information on legal and business topics from Canadian business lawyer Shane McLean

Does the Emperor Have Any Clothes?

Posted by Shane McLean on April 24, 2009

Originally Posted on www.startupottawa.com on April 22, 2009

I am prepared to make a confession.  Here goes: 

I don’t get Twitter. 

Phew!  Now that I have that out in the open I feel much better.  I have been carrying this weight around for a while and have been afraid to admit it.  Have you ever seen a movie that everyone absolutely loves but you just don’t get it?  That’s me with Twitter.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried.  I’ve made an effort to attend  events where Twitter was the topic, I have read tons of  articles extolling the virtues of Twitter and making vague claims as to how it is being used in beneficial ways and I signed up for a Twitter account and followed a handful of people and organizations for several weeks (you may remember me from such Twitter handles as McLeanShane (but probably not)).  Unfortunately, I saw very little value (to me) in what people were putting out there.  On top of that, I kept getting notices that people I have never heard of were suddenly following me, even though I never posted a thing.  In frustration I ended up cancelling my account (which, by the way,Twitter made very simple).

Maybe I wasn’t following the right people.  Maybe I’m missing all the good stuff.  I sure hope so.  To be clear, I was following people and organizations using Twitter professionally as a communication tool, as opposed to getting on there with all my friends and gabbing about personal life.  I suppose if you were a regular user of instant messaging with a group of friends, Twitter might provide a useful forum to continue that activity.

The Tweets I saw were mostly non sequitur, train of thought kind of stuff that may (or may not) be interesting to the person posting it but were of questionable value to me.  For the most part, the folks I was following also have blogs on which they posted more detailed and useful articles in parallel with and covering the same topics as their Tweets. Is there any use in following someone on Twitter if I follow their blog?

 I am fully prepared for an onslaught of comments and/or criticism from Twitter maniacs out there.  Let’s have the discussion.  I am posting this with the hopes that someone can let me in on the secret. My only ask is that you please keep in mind that I am not trashing people who use Twitter This is not a personal thing.  If you use it and love it, more power to you.  On the flipside, I would also appreciate hearing from those who agree with me (cue crickets…).  I’m perfectly comfortable if at the end of the day I’m unique in failing to get it, but I am genuinely trying hard to understand the medium and figure out how or why people use it.  Maybe if I can get my head around it, I could even sign up for another account!  

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