Mar 23, 2008

10 Things I Hate About Twitter


So I’ve kind of gotten addicted to Twitter over the past few weeks. At its best, it’s like an ongoing coffee break that you can pop in and out of over the course of a day and find out all sorts of interesting gossip, not to mention articles worth reading and other time sucks.

That said, there are a number of things I find frustrating about it and given that Twitter is still in its nascent stage, I thought I’d put them into the ever popular list form. (Hat tip to Brian Morrissey for his input on this.)

1. I WISH I had the ability to temporarily turn certain people off. Especially people who feel the need to live-tweet an especially boring commute to the office or conference or concert or something else I am not interesting in learning about in 5 minute intervals. (That said, I wish I had the ability to produce cogent, lucid, amusing grammatically correct live tweets the way some people do. I completely lack the ability to be completely in the moment and participating in the event while simultaneously outside of it and commenting on it.)

2. I WISH I didn’t have to hit “Refresh” on the Twitter.com web page every time I wanted to see an update. Not a tech genius here but can’t imagine an auto-refresh feature would be that difficult.

3. I WISH there was a good Mac-compatible app for Twitter. I’ve been using Snitter and testing Twitterific, but they both have their faults. I don’t mind Snitter’s functionality, but it has the (fairly major) flaw of sometimes talking hour-long breaks from providing updates, no matter how many times you hit “Refresh.” And Twitterific loses me with those god-awful bird noises. (UPDATE, November 2008: I have been a big fan of Twhirl for the past several months. It's exactly what I was asking for.)

4. I WISH I was able to IM with people on Twitter. Sometimes someone brings up something you want to discuss with them in private and the back and forth Direct Messaging is just way too slow. Even a built-in link to an external IM app would help.

5. I WISH making my Twitter-stream private didn’t result in the odd-yet-annoying technical glitch of forcing me to follow every single person who elects to follow me.

6. I WISH the logical next step of the aforementioned problem—to remove all my new-but-unknown followers from my “People I’m Following” list—didn’t automatically result in their simultaneous removal from my “People Following Me” list. (Note: If this has happened to you, I swear it was not my intention to remove you, so please feel free to re-follow me- I’ve made my feed public again.)

7. I WISH people would stop welcoming new followers: this isn’t AM radio.

8. I WISH people would realize how odd it sounds to twitter about how you are currently playing with your children. Children are sentient beings who get that Mommy or Daddy can’t simultaneously be playing with them and typing about it on Twitter. Not to mention that (to paraphrase Chris Rock’s famous routine) you’re a parent: You’re supposed to be playing with your children. This is also true of people who twitter about how they are currently at dinner with various friends and relatives. All I can think of is 7 other people sitting there aghast as you blithely type new Twitter updates throughout the meal. (SEE ALSO: Wolk, A.: Social Media Is Only Social If You’re Alone.)

9. I WISH people would not feel the need to tell me what they are eating for lunch every day. Unless maybe it’s something really gross or unusually delicious. I mean I’m just as guilty of the occasional mundane tweet as the next guy, but some people's need to go into detail about the minutiae of life is indeed baffling.

10. I WISH I had the willpower to turn off the Twitter feed during the day. It wastes so much time. Yet it’s always so much more interesting than whatever else I’m doing.

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