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In the age of conversation Twitter is lopsided

Twitter's main phraseA month ago tomorrow I relented and created a Twitter account.
Conversations with followers and/or following twitter members limited to 140 characters per message. So far I've 'tweeted' 235 'updates' as a message is called, have 15 followers and I follow 13 fellow twitters. And I even downloaded and donated to TweetDeck - which gives a 'tweet' sound every time one of the twitters I follow tweets a message.

To be honest, still after one month I don't 'get it'. Where's the conversation?
Imagine being in a room with 3 other people, all with a phone in hand while conversing with the others in the room.

Person A tells you something
You reply to person A
Person B answers his phone and you hear what he says to someone he calls person D
Person C replies to person A too.
Person B says person E (not in the room) has written a blog-post
Person A replies to person C's reply
Person C also tell everyone person E (still not in the room) has written a blog-post
Person A tells you she likes your thoughts in the reply you just gave her
Person A tells person F (not in the room) over the phone he should check out this web-site
Person C is ROFL speaking to someone on the phone, lets call him person G
Person B is replying in one go to person C, person D and person E
Person A announces the publication of a new blog-post.

The most messages you, being in the room with the 3 others, hear (see, read) are only one side of the conversations that apparently are going on in the room.
Multiply this with 10 or 100 and you get a cacophony of 1-2-1 short messages and short announcements.

Where's the ongoing, engaging, sharing conversation in this? It feels more like a publicly visible avalanche of direct messages from people you know (follow) to people you don't know in between an avalanche of announcements.

It's not for me. So I will be untweeting.

Meet me in the comment boxes on blogs, in the comment boxes on Facebook or meet me in forums where the whole engaging, ongoing conversation is visible to everyone. That's where I will be, where I will get to know you and share thoughts, ideas and will tell you about things I suspect you might like to know too.

Update 01.03.09: In search of conversations

(It's all down to a learning process, like life itself)


Karen Swim

LOL! Karin it's like that and not but your description cracks me up! I think you do have to be slightly ADD to keep up but part of the joy of twitter is access to a stream of information and learning about / meeting others as a result of your follower stream. You would probably like Plurk or FriendFeed much better, both are more conducive to real conversations. I'll miss you on Twitter but we've got Facebook! :-)

Karin H.

Hi almost name sake ;-)

Yes, we have Facebook and blogs! We're out there, trying to keep pace, learning from others and sharing loads.

And we all choose the tools we like best or the ones we feel/think will bring us the best conversations.

Karin H.

Kent Blumberg

Good morning (here)/afternoon (there)! I get where you are coming from, Karin. And I also see a slightly different Twitter world. What I like about Twitter:

1. I get interesting (and also boring) input from folks with whom I don't normally engage. Occasionally (once a day) a Tweet leads me to a great post/article/resource I might not have found otherwise. Value #1: input. ("Feed me, Seymour!")

2. Every few days I am able to help someone based on their Tweet request, and that increases my significance and strengthens my connections. For example, Terry Starbucker tweeted a request last week for a real estate agent in Portland, Oregon. By chance, my wonderful and beautiful mother, Cherie Rubenstein, is just such an animal. I responded with a direct message to Terry, and off we go!

3. Conversely, it can be a place to get quick answers to my issues and opportunities. I have 217 followers, so anytime I ask a question, I have tons of folks who can give me quick response.

4. I spend about 20-30 minutes on Twitter a day (less time than I have spent crafting this stunningly well thought little comment essay ;-p). In that time, I can actually have two or three little conversations with my @friends.

Just my thoughts,


Karin H.

Morning Kent (very, very early morning where you are)

Thanks for showing another side to Twitter. You list the 4 things I really prefer and enjoy on Facebook. With so many Social Media tools to choose from we all have our preferences - which makes it also so versatile, like real life ;-)

Karin H.

At 15:52 01/02/2009, you wrote:

Kent Blumberg

True enough! The menu of possible social media tools does become a bit confusing at times, doesn't it. I often feel as if I am sitting in one of those restaurants with a 20 page menu and everything looks good. Need to find the "waiter" of the social media, so I can ask her, "What's your favorite dish on the menu?"

Karin H.


And when you return the next day to your Social Media Restaurant you might find another 'waiter' suggesting a total different dish ;-)

Karin H.

At 14:12 02/02/2009, you wrote:

Ian Nock

I think the main thing is to get a good bunch of people to follow - a mix of types, people who you do have a connection with. Then it all starts to make sense, particularly when you find that a good number of your tweets start with @

That is the secret - you have to @ people even if they do not always respond, because sometimes they do and then the conversation begins to flow as they know you better.

A bit like real life really.

Karin H.

Hi Ian

I know, I've been told that many times over.

Compared with the connections, interactions and conversations possible on Facebook between follow and following - simply called friends - Twitter for me is too limited.
I started Twitter with following 10 - 12 people I have a connection with - it did still feel like I missed whole parts of the conversation.

Each its own preferred way of connecting and communicating I think - a bit like real life really ;-)

Karin H

At 15:33 20/02/2009, you wrote:

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