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Sunday, August 02, 2009


So the other day I blogged about so-called "social networks." I have to say that my experience with Twitter isn't really getting any better. I continue to be baffled by the mystery of a value proposition here.

There are people "following" thousands of other people. There are people who have thousands of people "following" them. I suppose if you're a celebrity trying to build your brand, having thousands "follow" you on Twitter is an admirable goal. But what's in it for those who would purport to "follow" you?

What is most intriguing to me are the people who are starting to show up as my "followers" on Twitter. Most of them I don't even know. Why would they want to "follow" me? Why would they care what I'm doing or what I have to say? Perhaps they just want to market to me, get me in their multi-level marketing scheme? (A couple have tried.)

I had to ban a couple people from "following" me on Twitter this past week. One I looked at and he just posted profanity all the time. I concluded that I don't want to know someone like that. The other was a self-professed porn star --- who invited people to go watch her "triple x" movie clips. I definitely didn't want to know her!

Do we ever consider the social equivalents of these social networks? Isn't it a bit like going out into the street and letting a vulgar, repulsive man claim you as a friend? Or isn't it a bit like heading into the red light district and letting a hooker claim you as a friend? Mind you, I'm not opposed to befriending such people. But I don't think I would do it indiscriminately. Discretion would definitely be applied before I would engage with someone - or be publicly associated with them in any way. Yet in the on-line world, we seem not to care. Whatever. Whoever. I find that amazing.

Perhaps the more perplexing aspect of Twitter is the character limitations. One can barely get a couple of sentences in there before you run out of allowable character usage. So you are guaranteed one thing on Twitter - whatever anyone says, it won't be much! Seriously, you'll have to be a man or woman of few words if you're going to communicate on Twitter. Or you'll be posting multiple tweets per day. (Pastor Rick Warren does that.) Is that really effective communication? Wouldn't a blog make more sense?

I try to be open minded about these things. I try to embrace the newest ways and latest thinking. But I have to confess that Twitter is challenging me more than most things. I keep scratching my head, expecting a light bulb to go off when I finally "get it!"

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