I used to write a lot about Twitter. For example, here is a collection of 10,000+ words I wrote in a series of blog posts called “Thoughts on Twitter.” In brief, all those words say that Twitter was (they were written years ago) great because no two people use it the same way. And anyone who tried to explain how one was supposed to use Twitter broke the first rule of Twitter: You can’t make up rules for how others use Twitter. Back then, Twitter was a feature of a failed product (Odeo) that lived on past the product failure to become an easy means to send out a group text message. Back then, the cool things about Twitter were being created by its users. [Most obvious example: @ChrisMesinna (not the actor) who is responsible for the #hashtag.]
Rather than repeat any more of those 10,000 words, I’ll stop there and say, Twitter is best when you realize it now belongs to someone else, someone who tomorrow could decide that the #hashtag should be a ~tilde or the star should become a heart.
Twitter is now like professional football. Imagine if all football was eight years ago was (hash)tag football played in a parking lot and today it had to be the NFL, a $billion business that has to make money from huge advertisers and fans who just want to see the game and buy a hot dog.
People say, “professional sports are no longer about the game, they are just part of the entertainment business.” But people who are really fans of a specific sport or team can find a way to peer through the hype and corporate greed and recognize that somewhere buried in all that crap, the game still exists.
Bottomline: Like it, or favorite it, Twitter belongs to the people who own it, not the people who use it. The people who run it will keep trying to “fix” it so the owners will like it. The people who use it will put up with all those useless “fixes” if they can recognize that it’s still tag football under all that crap. If they don’t see the game, they’ll use it to promote what they are doing somewhere else that’s more fun.
Watching the NFL draft on TV is ridiculously boring, despite everything the NFL and ESPN do to focus on back-stories (dipping into ABC’s creation of the “up close and personal” documentary approach to turn sports like curling into emotional personal stories of victory over adversity), punditry and more big data than the NSA collects on the leaders of foreign governments.
However, Twitter can turn boring events into an entertaining event fueled by back-channel quips, snark, insight and, my favorite, “irrational hate.”
Continue reading Boring Events Like the NFL Draft Work Because of Twitter
Almost three years ago, to the day, I blogged about Pinterest users (and users of other social media platforms) understanding the reality that if you use a platform controlled by someone else, you are a hamster in their cage (a metaphor I first learned from Dave Winer).
The post I wrote three years ago, “Just Because You Can Make Money From Something, Doesn’t Mean You Should, and Other Rules of the Web,” was about Pinterest being accused of “skimming links” — the practice of finding links on their platform that go to ecommerce sites and converting those links to affiliate links in order to generate commissions from those ecommerce companies.
Continue reading Some Pinterest Users are Learning the Price of Free
For this post, the term Millennial refers to people born between 1982 and 2004. (Math help: People who are currently (i.e., 2014) between the ages of 10 and 32.) Also, while this post refers to a golden age, NOTHING in it refers to fringe New Testament apocalyptic theology.
During the first part of the 20th century, the french philosopher and sociologist Maurice Halbwachs advanced the idea of “collective memory” — a shared pool of information held in the memories of two or more members of a group. Or at least that’s what a group of two or more members of a group of people wrote in the Maurice Halbwachs Wikipedia entry.
Continue reading How Millennials (Not Al Gore) Invented the Internet
Forgive me, but you’ll find at the bottom of this post yet another Ice Bucket Challenge video. I was on vacation and somewhat off the grid a couple of weeks ago when the ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Ice Bucket Challenge meme hit, so I wasn’t quite sure what the shout-out from Hammock president John Lavey was all about when it hit my in-box.
Continue reading The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is Fun(d)raising at its Finest