Misunderstanding Twitter

I am writing this on my phone in a Hailo cab in London so forgive the typos and lack of links. I will clean this up later.

On the flight over from Brussels I read the International Herald Tribune. In today’s copy was an opinion piece by Joe Nocera where he explained why he doesn’t like (and doesn’t use) Twitter. The piece is here http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/16/opinion/nocera-a-case-against-twitter.html.

His two basic complaints are the short bursty nature of the discourse and the hate that is spewed at him on the service.

I cannot argue with either observation at face value but when you dig deeper his arguments come up empty for me.

First as to the bursty nature of Twitter, I would argue that is what makes Twitter so great. But Twitter is more like the old stock and news tickers that ran headlines all day long. We still have long form discourse but you have to click on the links and leave Twitter to get to it. You can come back and react on Twitter but honestly the better discussions often happen in the comment threads like the one here at AVC or on Reddit or Hacker News.

As to the issue of hate spewing, that is an issue with all open social platforms. I have experienced people taking aim at me on Twitter, but also on blogs, and in communities around the web. Many traditional journalists have been somewhat protected by the closed nature of their publications. The hating that is aimed at them has mostly happened offline so its not in their face. When it hits them in their face they are shocked.

I’ve gotten used to it. Some people don’t like me or what I say and write That is a good thing. Getting sucked up to is way worse and trust me I get plenty of that too.

So my reaction to Joe’s piece on Twitter is he should dive in, get involved, and see why it has become the open communication channel of this century.