Why Twitter is evil

  1. Why would I care what you're doing?
  2. The 140-character limit.
  3. Just another opportunity to interrupt real-world social interactions.
  4. Enabling attention-deficit disorder sufferers doesn't seem a like a particularly good idea these days.
  5. Gives NPR Weekend Edition host Scott Simon an excuse to let listeners do his job for him by tweeting suggested interview questions.
  6. Created to give Starbucks a way to send us all today's list of special coffees.
  7. I have enough media to monitor, thank you very much.
  8. What part of "trivial" don't you understand?
  9. Maybe if we weren't paying so much attention to our iPhones and Blackberries, we'd notice that the planet is going to hell in a handbasket.
  10. Patience is a virtue.
  11. Chances are, I heard already, because I'm paying attention to original sources, not nth-generation tweets.
  12. Why does every new internet tool have to come with a stupid name?
  13. On the other hand, "twit" seems like an appropriate term.
  14. Moby-Dick.
  15. Depending on what's going on in the loop, being left out of it can be a good thing.
  16. When was the last time you read a tweet that more than one person needed to see? Just send a text message, for Pete's sake!
  17. Civilization managed to survive for 10,000 years without it.
  18. As if the signal-to-noise ratio on the web isn't low enough already.
  19. Doesn't anyone else realize that we're already too reliant on telecommunications technology?
  20. If all your friends jumped off a cliff, you would, too?
  21. Unless my family is under seige in an Indian hotel, it can wait.
  22. Really. It can wait. At least until I get back to the peace and quiet of my office.
  23. Two words: Pet Rocks.
  24. You don't see the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise engaged in anything analogous to tweeting, do you?
  25. Makes "25 random things about me" seem like an intelligent use of what precious little free time most of us have left.

More like this

I think that #24 is good enough on it's own..

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

Finally, someone who I agree with about stupid social networks. I was starting to think I'm a complete freak. Thanks, I'll have a much better weekend now.


By Ernesto Jardim (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

Uh, I assume #24 was at least half a joke, given that both Brent Spiner and Levar Burton are twitters... :)

By Joe Shelby (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

Amen. But "evil" may be investing Twitter with more significance than it deserves. I think "silly" would be adequate.

I see it as the latest manifestation of an undesirable trend. Go back a bit, and it was people checking their e-mail 5 times an hour, and phoning you to say, "Did you not get my e-mail? I sent it almost an hour ago."

Then it was instant messaging and cell phones, both offering improved opportunities to "be in touch all the time" (a fate I'd do almost anything to avoid).

Then "social networks" and Twitter.

There's value to each of these (although I suspect that the value is dropping over time). Perhaps a more balanced view would be suggest that each new tool seems to be taken to sillier extremes than the last one.

By Scott Belyea (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

Hah! The irony is beautiful! You just combined 25 tweets into one ;)

I use it but don't read it. I just have my blog update my status whenever I put up a new post. I tried tweetdeck for a day or two but couldn't get anything done on my laptop because I kept on getting "notifications" from both FaceBook and Tweets.


In summary; #7

"...Just send a text message"

Ya. For me, cellphone is the greater Evil. I use the Twitter to manage bi-directional text messaging with (a select few) denizens of the cellphone world. Works for me. Ignore Scott Simon.

By Matthew Platte (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

Brent Spiner's tweets are HILARIOUS. Also, Eddie Izzard tweets. Anything Eddie Izzard does is awesome, thank you very much!

I thought about getting on it, just so I could randomly post things like, "I'm passing gas", or "I'm taking a leak.", with a few "Not doing my job so I can keep some stalker updated on my minute-to-minute activity"-style posts thrown in for good measure. #1 is the best reason for me. Some people just get way, way too interested in others. It's just a bit creepy to me.

I never understand the logic behind the first argument; often the first and only argument presented. Is it so hard to admit that 90%+ of blogs on the internet are a long form tweet about uninteresting personal happenings or that facebook status updates are more than less the exact same thing? It all boils down to WHO you choose to follow, which imo is much more under your control with twitter as opposed to the aforementioned social network.

I'm still not particularly fond of the service and can agree wholeheartedly with some of your assertions (particularly #7), but admittedly it remains useful for covering certain real-time events. I think Phil Plait demonstrates that quite well here.

By brand0con (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

I am pretty sure that list is the same as the one people made about blogs 10 years ago.

What is twitter?

Another reason I'm grateful not to have a cell phone.

Cheez Whiz, but people are socially insecure!

I'm socially insecure because I use and enjoy twitter, Rob Jase? Hardly.

you know, twitter is kinda nice. you can send 140 characters to someone. what would be real nice is if there was some technology to send longer messages to select people. hey, it would be cool to also maybe send a short file or picture! and when they get technology to do that, you know it won't be long until they will find some way to send actual live voice to someone! that would be cool. you could actually talk LIVE to someone who is far away!

wow...if only we could do that now...


Y'all need to realize that Twitter is essentially microblogging.

Actually I think the 140-character limit is one of the best features of twitter...it's sort of like writing the hook for a DYK on Wikipedia or an abstract for presentation...anything that forces you to fit a lot of info into a limited number of words is fun...

Wow it's cool to see someone else who hasn't jumped the useless Twitter herd bandwagon. The latest pet rock of the internet indeed. This reminds me of when the Daily Show parodied the whole Twitter thing. The episode where Samantha Bee was using Grunter--a further de-evolution of "social" networking--where people can now just grunt like monkeys to each other via their cell phones.

By neokortex (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

Actually, I use Twitter to follow the specific news sources I prefer without having to go to each and every website, I get a window into the lives of people who already have the career that I want to have - which incurs my jealousy at least once a day but also gives me some great ideas on how to accomplish my goals, I know when websites I like are updated, and I get live scores of lacrosse games from all over the country, just to name a few things. And I pipe it through TwitterFox which just pops updates up on my screen so I don't have to waste time going to twitter.com.
As with all new technology, it might be a flash in the pan, but it's pretty useful if you know how to use it right. I find that people who don't like things like Twitter and facebook (and blogging, for that matter) just don't know how to use it efficiently.

By Jim Bob Cooter (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

I don't have a twitter account but feel pretty neutral about it. I don't have a facebook or myspace account, or a blog. I can see the value of all those (except myspace). I've thought about putting up a blog to have something to sharpen up my writing skills on (practice practice) but I don't really need to ooze more text onto the internet to do that. But why should I deny some poor bastard the accident of stumbling across my crap?

Still, I would probably start using twitter and/or facebook if something specific prompted me to sign up. It'd be interesting to know how many people join up for something like I just said as opposed to, I guess, "tweets sake".

But James, Stephen Fry will say you "don't get it"! Are you absolutely sure you're willing to reject this trivia ace and British national treasure's definition of cool?

#1 and #11 sum up why I think it's pretty well useless.
I even wish sometimes that I didn't have a cell phone, at least until I really need it.

By bojangles (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

This is supposed to be ironic, right? The way almost every one of those reasons applies just as much to blogs as it does to twitter?

I think the humor tag should guide your e-intuitions. Fallacies should only be used deliciously.

#14. Moby Dick. Sums it all up.

By Marc Hansson (not verified) on 04 Apr 2009 #permalink

CPP wrote:

I'm with you, holmes! Sheril Kirshenbaum and I have a pact that we are never going to read or use twitter. You wanna join us?

So James, you in?

Anyone tried Twatter yet?

If all you see on Twitter is irrelevant chatter, you are following the wrong people. Search for "mindcasting" instead of "livecasting" for a more useful experience. See this for starters. Follow Jay, then follow those he mentions if you find them useful. Then see this for more information.

As it is on any topic - gotta know it inside out before making a definitive decision exactly what you think about it. Immerse yourself into Twitter for a month or two, then write a blog post about it using the knowledge and experience you gained there.

My last comment must be in the spam folder as it contains two links....

Thanks for rescuing it - having two links automatically places comments in the Spam Folder. So, this time, only one link - how twitter fits into the journalistic workflow for those who are so inclined.

If this post had been <= 140 characters long I might have read to the end. 'Nuff said. :)

By David Young (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

If the new Star Trek movie has a Twitter product placement in it, the world is going to have to come to an end now ... just so you all know.

Khan: @Chekov kill captain kirk
Chekov: @Khan will kill captain kirk
JamesTKirk: @Chekov @Khan Khaaaaaan!

Who can be against that?

#18. And I guess I should feel sorrier than I actually do for my part in contributing to it!

Don't you get that it's just as much of a time waster to bash these sorts of things as actually using them? This is funny, though. :D

LOL-ed at this one: "Civilization managed to survive for 10,000 years without it."

Now I thought I am the only one who does not completely get the whole usefulness of Twitter. Then again, tweets from NYT and Barack Obama are sometimes quite interesting. Then again, why not just visit the nytimes.com or Obama's website and read the updates there instead?

I have a twitter account though, just because I think it's cool. :D

Another 'genius' who completely misses the point.

1. It's not about status updates. It's micro-blogging.
2. Encourages brevity.
3. Everything is another opportunity to interrupt real-world social interactions.
4. Says the guy with the blog.
5. And this is a bad thing?
6. Then unfollow Starbucks.
7. Then switch if off for a bit.
8. There is no âpartâ of trivial; itâs one word.
9. Mobile phones have nothing to do with Twitter. Theyâre a way of accessing the network, but you can reach Google on them, too.
10. So is humility.
11. Chances are, you didnât hear already, because you were paying attention to outdated sources.
12. Like âThe Island of Doubtâ?
13. You got that right. (Ps. Itâs âTwittererâ).
14. Sounds painful.
15. Twitter lets you define your own loop. Follow who you want.
16. You mean like the Hudson plane crash, that kind of thing?
17. âCivilisationâ managed to survive for 10,000 years without an awful lot of things. Dumbest point yet.
18. Twitter encourages a high signal-to-noise ratio; itâs all about sharing content. Folk who take âwhat are you doing?â literally are increasingly in the minority.
19. Again, what does it have to do with telecommunications?
20. Is that why you started a blog?
21. Your family are under siege in a Thai hotel.
22. My bad.
23. Two words: so what?
24. They had a holodeck. Nobody will give a frig about anything once we have a holodeck.
25. Ah, now I see where youâre coming from.

Guess you don't learn everything from books after all.

By Jimbo Jones (not verified) on 17 Apr 2009 #permalink

Anything that helped Obama get elected and has raised money for important charities can't be bad. I find a pretty useful way of scanning news from various sources, and it only takes a few minutes a day. It is only a waste of time if you make it one.

The whole thing about social metworks is that you see what you want to see and ignore what you don't

You can follow people or automated feeds ok Twitter if you want to, it's just the same as the TV and the radio. If you don't like it turn it off!

Unfollow the boring, but leave those that want to the choice without being made to feel socially dysfunctionial

The Captain's Log is DEFINITELY several twitter posts strung into an episode.

I love the irony of this. Really, I do. Shall we list the other 15 billion things that civilation survived without for the last 10,000 years? I guess we're better off without all of those things too.

It's fun; not a requirement.

I never wanted to start Twitter except my close friend I needed to communicate with begged. That said, our personal interactions via Twitter are funny for us. The few things we follow help keep us in the loop of stuff we like without having to go get "the info" on it.

On a final note, I do not & will not ever own a cell phone.

Those are much worse than any silly Twitter account.

I fully agree with everything you said. Twitter is yet another addictive thing online that has sucked people's lives up. My husband has spent more time on that recently than doing his work, until I put my foot down, earning me puppy-dog sadness and whines.

That said, I have a Twitter that I use to follow approximately 7 people, most of whom use it to send occasional updates in between their weekly web-comic updates, and which largely contain interesting and relevent info, without cluttering up their comic pages.

Twitter is a tool, not a necessity, and people need to learn to stop using it as an IM service. I don't want to log on and find 387 messages sent between the same person, hiding one message of pertinence!

By Anti-Twit (not verified) on 17 Apr 2009 #permalink

First, I use Twitter for life- and mind-casting. Some real life friends who used to read my old LiveJournal missed my updates. I was flattered, so I started putting them out there again. If others get something out of it, great. My friends enjoy it, and I try to post a useful link every now and then. If not for such a link, I wouldn't have even found this page. Thanks, Neil!

The greater problem is #14. Moby Dick. What a perfect (and ironically tweet-worthy) description of The Problem. Of course the inability of modern minds to output or absorb large and complex ideas predates Twitter. This is something we have collectively been working on since e-mail came around, no?

#24 - actually people are posting as if they're the crew of the enterprise... ;)

but very funny list, sir ! :D

ironically yes.. I re-tweeted a link to this page. >:)

Wait wait wait... you're telling me I'm a loser b/c I don't base my actions on what the cast of STAR TREK do or don't do? Really?

Clearly making lists about why certain social media tools are dumb is a way more productive use of time than using said tools. ; )

The words pot kettle and black come to mind.

I follow very few people on Twitter and chose who I'll allow to follow me. I'm originally from Australia, lived in London for a couple of years and now I'm in America and I find Twitter great just for random updates and joking around with my friends who are all over the world!
I don't see anything wrong or "silly" about wanting to be in touch with my friends and I can't exactly just call them up on a whim to say hi! If I want to call east coast Australia during the week, 12midnight here is 5pm there at the moment. I have to plan ahead and then remember, but generally I'll have to wait for the weekend to swing around and hope I haven't got any plans for the day.
There are people out there who go "social network crazy", it's true, but I'd hardly label Twitter as evil, pointless, stupid, or a waste of anyone's time just because of them. It has a legitimate purpose that helps people stay connected in short little updates.
A friend of mine who I didn't even realise was pregnant gave birth to a baby girl a month ago. Would never have found out unless another friend hadn't tweeted me the news :)

Do you twitter? I would like to follow your tweets!

By Mark Berge (not verified) on 17 Apr 2009 #permalink

Dear James

I would guess the fact that your list has been so widely Tweeted that it reached more people than it ordarily would demonstrates something . . .

I am not too proud of my whatever skills I have as an interviewer to invite the suggestions of others, and find many of the questions sound and interesting (in fact, so do our guests). This does not mean, however, that I am asking others to do my job. In the end, I decide which ones to ask, or how to reframe them. But I welcome help from any source, and find the Twitter community to contain many interesting people with valuable observations that I enjoy.

with thanks


By Scott Simon (not verified) on 17 Apr 2009 #permalink

Turn off device updates, and it's fine. Check it a couple of times a day, when you want to day something, and it can be interesting. Live texts of it all, is just going a bit far.

"On the other hand, "twit" seems like an appropriate term."

I've been using that a fair bit, on twitter to twits

ps nice dog

By ella fitzgerald (not verified) on 17 Apr 2009 #permalink

I found the link to this blog in one of the tweets. I understand that many people deem Twitter useless. With that said, I see that whether there is any value in blogging or tweeting depends on how one utilizes it.

1. We are reliant on technology, such as blogs, and we all know that imminently all technology will disappear and leave us wishing we hadn't improved our lives with technology.
2. It makes things easier, and we need to challenge ourselves to communicate.
3. Why use this, when you can use things like texting from the last fad, for only 98c/text!
4. If too many people do it, that makes it uncool!

On the other hand, "twit" seems like an appropriate term.

Nope, you'll lose geek cred if you do. Twits are fans of Leo Laporte's "This Week In Tech" netcast.

It used to be hard core pro-Twitter, but Oprah's gaming it now.

I think the next big thing will be sending a single smiley. And... It... Won't... Stop... Smiling...!

woot! finally someone that agrees with me..! get on wit yo bad self!!

Twitter, along with MySpace and Facebook, is an entire waste of paper, a resource that is not even used. That i show much of a waste those things are.

By John Dough (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

I'm somewhat offended,

Why does this 'tweet-hater' makes me read this stupid blog? Why don't you come visit me and tell it personally... I had to come out of my real life, where I use Twitter to stay updated about the internet... ;-)

Funny list though...

sarcasm is good,
you're good,...!
I too have too many degrees, trying to do something with them, on the wet coast,... i don't have a marine biology degree, only an animal biology degree... go figure,.. plus some master of science thing... go figure.
I'm only playing twitter,.. it's stupid. you're not.

It's true!
And it scares the hell out of me how many many ppl must feel so lonely to twit "i'm eatin hamburgers" and stuff like that, all the time. Learn how to code in 20 differents languajes, buy an iPhone and use Slackware, do a Master on Physics, whatever you want to be a true lord of the geeks, but for the love of god, go get a girldfriend and enjoy real life(tm)!

I think it's the bastard child of recorded history. It used to be if you were important people wrote about you, now you write about yourself to feel important. What a redundant stupid tool.
Not to mention that the whole point of democracy and many wars was to gain privacy which was previously not allowed under patriarchal rule. Now we willingly submit to invasion because we've been manipulated into thinking that fame and fortune = popularity = important and we give up the rights our predecessors died for. No wonder every senior citizen I talk to is ashamed that the new generations are a bunch of whining babies worried more about what their friends are doing then what people controlling their lives are. But not everyone has a head on their shoulders I guess.

#24 is great... just watched the last movie :)
or as would Aaron Wall say: Internet is a cesspool where false information thrives - with twitter it becomes more and more true

I agree that 140 characters is very limiting. The rest are jokes or too general statements ( Civilization managed to survive for 10,000 years without it ).

I'd rather leave the twitter to those who don't have IRL social skills. I'm proud to be people-oriented, live-phone-conversational, face-to-face interviewed, etc.

I have finger tendonitis anyways.

You are following the wrong people. It's all about the comedy.

Twitter: Good or Evil (or Irrelevant or Same ol')? Everyone seems to be talking about and using Twitter these days (I'm not on it and have no plans to join in the immediate future). It seems as though Twitter is the newest wave of web.

Somehow I do understand what the author were saying. I did too have that 1st impression about twitter. Infact i got confuse at the beginning of how it is so simple and yet people so attached to it. I thought it gonna be like myspace or facebook. All I see was small field to type limited words. I kept back and forth looking for another feature available. Which is none. I leave my 1st connection to twitter after only leaving one message and one following (Ellen D Gen's, the one that prompt me to tweet).

But few minutes after that, I receive msg about people started to follow me as well. Weird but exciting, since I did join tweet to expand networking so that I can promote my affiliate program.

I thought Twitter was a bad idea on my 1st impression. But then, I change my mind after it helped me bring more connection to others.

More followers means more people expose to what I'm gonna say.

Still catching up with others, but I gotta say, that I grew fond of Twitter now. The simplicity is actually goldmine.

Btw, join free program here to boost the numbers of your followers: http://followe.rs/eY

e rest are jokes or too general statements ( Civilization managed to survive for 10,000 years without it ).