Saturday, December 25, 2010

Looking for The Next Cool Thing After Twitter

I have stopped tweeting. Ok not totally stopped, but the frequency in which I tweet now has drastically reduced. And it is not as if I would be deleting my twitter account soon to never tweet again, it is just that...well...Twitter to me doesn’t feel cool it used to be in those early days.

This is my present sentiment or Phase, regarding twitter.

And to appreciate my sentiment you might need to understand where I am coming from and how I got started with twitter and the prior phases I have gone through.

I got on twitter 2007. Sure, i was an early adopter. Back then the user base of twitter was still in the thousands. It was around 400,000 to 500,000. Compared to the whopping 145 Million plus user base the service now enjoys. It was Tim Akinbo that brought twitter to my attention and the reason why I got on board was simple: It was just the latest geeky thing to play around with. It was fun and elitist in a sort of way.

So here i am now, some couple of years down the line, and twitter is feeling noisy. But before getting to this present state, I have actually gone through other phases in time past, using twitter. Let me outline:

The WOW Phase. The Really Really WOW Phase:
In the early days of twitter, If you are following someone and they tweet, you get their tweet sent, free of charge, to your phone as SMS. Yeah right. That was back then. A lot of folks do not know this, but that made twitter really really cool for me. I remembered vividly, taking a bike from INTECU to Fajuyi Hall and my phone was abuzz with SMS all from tweets I was getting from following CNN, BBC etc on twitter. I felt connected to the world. But then twitter started growing; growing to that level where sending free SMS was not sustainable. So they pull the plugged on it and all of a sudden it became...well a little less useful. Because having to browse to every time to read my tweets felt unnatural. So I eased off twitter.

The Third Party Application Phase
Then I discovered the Firefox pluggin: Twitterfox, which has since been renamed to Echofon. It marked a twitter revival for me.  Like I said in my previous post, the very nature of twitter makes accessing it via the website a little awkward and unnatural. Consuming twitter requires a non intrusive user notification paradigm. and that was exactly what the Firefox Plugin provided.

With this firefox plugin, my usage of twitter soared. But then again, this particular phase had it own limitations: which was the fact that I had to be seated by my PC, connected to the internet before I can use Twitter.

Mobile Internet Phase
Then I got on mobile internet and my usage of twitter just sky rocketed; It just went off the roof. Having twitter right there in my palms made it possible for me to consume and create tweets just anywhere and at anytime. I was abreast of all happening in the tech community. I had access to useful tips and pointers to resources thanks to the community of twitter following I had. It was cool, really cool. But it did not last forever. I was pushed unto the next phase:

The Crowded and Noisy Phase
Then all of a sudden twitter became noisy and crowded. I think this was due to the fact that a lot of regular Joe started getting bored with facebook and unfortunately twitter was getting a lot of mention in mainstream media, so the natural thing started happening: folks started flocking to twitter.

The other thing that happened, i think, that led to twitter growing to become crowded was that “Who to  Follow” feature twitter incorporated. It was just like the “Suggested friends” feature in facebook. All of a sudden a lot of folks I know started following me...and I started following back...and before I knew it, my timeline...well... became unrecognizable!

I hardly get to catch @takinbo or @dfasoro’s tweets. Or @budzeg tips on security. I follow @jeresig and @gvanrossum but I can’t remember the last time I caught their tweets.

Why? Because all of these useful tweets are now getting swamped and buried in the slew of RT’s RETWEETS and mentions of folks who have taken the liberty to use my timeline as the medium for their conversation; conversations I have no iota of interest in.

O! how I missed the useful tips and pointers to useful resources on mobile dev and UI design @barbietunnie shares. How I missed Guy kawasaki funny and sometimes out rightly useless tweets via @alltop not to talk about @jason. @mashable used to be one of my favorite pointers to interesting articles and resources, but not anymore.

So right now am in that phase where I spend little time on twitter because it just feels too noisy. I have been thinking of things I could do:

  1. Create another account which would solely be used to consume tweets I consider useful. But then again, I don’t really like the idea of managing multiple accounts so I really don’t see myself going down that lane.
  2. Start unfollowing people.
  3. Create a list of followers whose tweets am interested in.
  4. Or just go find/create the next cool and geeky thing to play with.
One of my girlfriends commented on the fact that I am no longer active on tweeter: my response? I told her it stopped being fun. That it feels as if every tom dick and harry is now on twitter, and that it has stopped being cool and geeky, like it used to be.

Or well, maybe it’s because I’ve just got geek coy? Whatever!  Twitter just feels *arrrghh* right now, and i am just on the look out for that next cool thing to play with, together with my techhead pals.


Tim said...

Interesting that only yesterday, I started unfollowing people whose tweets I had stopped deriving any value from. It only seemed to be the natural thing to do - evolve. Gone are the days when you followed everyone who followed you back. Alternatively, I could have grouped them in lists but just following 800 people was just unnatural and gave me mental fatigue.

I've learned a lot from Twitter and I still consider it as my best social network and even though there are people who can actually follow 10,000 people, I wonder how they keep up.

I'm on a quest to reduce the people I follow to 100 or even less - may be that would make Twitter much more valuable to me again.

kehers said...

At the end, it all boils down to who you follow. It's tempting to want to quit coz of the noise but the great things you can learn from following the right people is unrivaled. Like u stressed, revisiting ur friends list and ddoing some mass unfollowing can do the charm. As a rule, I keep my friends list under 150 (shooted slightly over dat now though). That way, I'm miss tweets rarely. No need for the 'teamFollowBack'. And when your tweets starts getting noisy, out of phase, I unfollow. Nothing personal. And that's the difference to facebook.

yayadavid said...

Dade, what you have noticed is a necessity for invention. So go create something.

Several people might be having the same headache/boredom and who knows what you create might save u+them and you might be the next....