Some things can’t be summed up in 140 characters.Twitter Inc’s announcement that Dick Costolo would exit as CEO on July 1 was long on plaudits but offered few clues on how the company will tackle its biggest problem: user growth.
So begins Reuters’ report on the turmoil in Twitter, the “social” media company that can’t quite manage to live up to the hype that preceded its transition into a publicly traded company.
In case it wasn’t clear to those who bought in early in this turkey of a stock, Twitter is a big, stinking pile of bullshit.
Twitter is a cute attractive idea to the average user, but nothing more. (I opened my account in 2006, and I “tweeted” 13 times for no apparent reason.) People will want to satisfy their ego by broadcasting 140-character nuggets of wisdom to people who are eager to read these nuggets. The hash tag would will allow Twitter and its customers to organize these missives and, thus, gain insight into the behaviors of the masses, a critical insight for marketing. No one questioned the notion that organizing and analyzing the quips of millions of people can be coalesced into a useful metric. Gaining insight into anything from billions of random quips was suspect from the start.
This somewhat dated IBM video shows how Twitter data is monetized. Billions of the short missives (i.e., “tweets”) are collected by search criteria and then organized into data structures that can be broken down by useful (in a marketing sense) categories and quantified. These results would, ostensibly, play a constructive role in shaping marketing research and subsequent and campaigns.
But why the fuck would they?
This premise that aggregates of 140-character messages can contain wisdom about marketing is highly suspect at best and an utter fallacy in all likelihood. People possessed with the free time to set up an account, to market themselves to “followers” who would place enough value on random, terse messages to read them, and to broadcast to these throngs of followers can hardly be considered to be representative of the population at large. The bulk are likely to be fickle teenagers whose tastes change in less time it takes for brilliant Ph.D.’s to analyze their tweets with heavy duty software like IBM’s Big Sheets. The rest are celebrities who can gather millions of these teenage followers. These celebrities effectively get free advertising through Twitter because they keep all the proceeds they get for advertising products to their Twitter followers, and they pay no commissions on the sales that their “tweets” generate.
In short, Twitter is an utterly worthless service. It represents nobody, it contains no useful marketing data, it has no way of capturing any portion of the revenues it generates for the people who use it as a marketing tool, and it offers nothing of any social value to those who participate in it. Not one of the relationships forged via the Twitter service can be construed as a true friendship or a business or personal relationship founded on substantive qualities like trust, affection or respect.
Even with respect to communication–the only level wherein Twitter could have had any claim to legitimacy–Twitter fails, too. It is the antithesis of communication, literacy and intellectual discourse. Even teenagers will eventually develop deep feelings and the capability to express these feelings, and the short expression format of Twitter will fail them. Pithiness is a good thing, but expressing true affection or grave disappointment may well be impossible in 140 characters, even it is accompanied by the same photos that one has already posted to Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and other worthless “social” media services.
It would be nice if venerable news sources like Reuters had the backbone to expose one of their technology darlings for the failed experiment that it is. Instead, even Reuters chooses to sensationalize the downfall of this business oddity in terms of the failure of the management to grow the business. There was no business, ever, in the Twitter endeavor. The market fell for it in its typical fawning of seemingly revolutionary technology companies.
Furthermore, Reuters, like all other media companies, is remiss to admit to the fact that it happily played up the fallacious merits of a business entity through which it hoped to get much free publicity and marketing. Lest they lose all credibility, however, they ought to start exposing the social media hoax by coming clean about Twitter. Twitter was a cool experiment for a computer geek, but as a business, it is nothing but a giant, massive, repulsive, stinking mountain bullshit now covered with flies feasting on its accelerating state of decay.
And, the rest of the “social media” aren’t much better.
And, yes, I’m sick and tired of “news” about business hoaxes depriving me of real news, real enlightenment and real insight.