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Friendfeed and Twitter - is it time for an intervention?

I have decided to write this post sort of as an echo of Michael Arrington’s call for an intervention with Robert Scoble’s addiction to Freindfeed and Twitter, who has spend more than 2600 hours interacting with those services. I am rounding up from Michael's post, because Robert states that he spend at least 7 hours every day. But he also responded to the TechCrunch and in his post Robert states that he started in February and it is only about 200 hours. Both question if the Scobleizer blog was harmed. I would like state that in cases like this there is more than just a traditional service that is harmed. In my case I did not allow my addiction to extent to my family, but it did affect other aspects of my life.

Twitter can be addictive! I never got into FriendFeed, only because I find it cluttered, or better yet – way too much going on. There is way too much going on in the activity stream to keep track of and to pay attention to comments. That is not to say that I have not picked up on some good images or links from the activity stream, but I do not use its commenting system. Actually, even thought some times I spend 50 to 60 hours per week on the Internet, I really do not find it useful. I know that many content creators, just like me, prefer to have/own comments either by us or to us. What happens if these services go down? All those comments will be gone.

I used to be addicted to Twitter. Just look at the graph below. But thanks to the type of work I do and its needs I was able to realize how much time I was wasting posting and refreshing all the time. At times I would simply sit and refresh the page for minutes at a time, hopping that “I won’t miss something”. Pretty ridiculous, huhh?! To me that was the biggest waist of time, because even though I was micro-blogging I was still spending more time REFRESHING A PAGE.

[caption id="attachment_427" align="aligncenter" width="518" caption="Twitter Stats by"]Twitter Stats by[/caption]

Some say that Twitter and micro-blogging is the next evolution of blogging. I disagree. I think that 140 character blogging, if you can call it that is a digression, not an evolution. I have concluded that Twitter and 140 character blogging is simply a retarded form of a chat(instant messenger) system. First of all, as a blogger, I hate the character limitations. Listen I have A LOT to say. If you go back in my Twitter history, you will see that I used to use TinyPaste to compensate for the limitations and to say what I have to say. Some would say why don’t I simply write an email or use an instant messenger. Well, because emails take too long to get a response to and not everyone uses an instant messenger. The Twitter users, with whom I communicate, they would hardly be willing to spend time writing a lengthy email, when they have the wonderful use of Twitter’s instant response – in short. I’ve also expressed on many occasions my disgust with how Twitter and services alike are forcing users to become grammar unintelligent so they can say what they have to say.

Probably about a month or so ago I decided to cut down on Twitter. I still get my urges to check it out, and I do. I do glance over what others are doing, but I hardly post now – mostly in response to others. Lastly, I found Twitter to be damaging to one’s social environment. That is not to say that Twitter is not good to start new friendships, keep up with people and expend one’s views, but that’s how far its usefulness should extend. A good personal example is from my work environment - instead of simply using my voice or getting out of my chair and making 5 steps, I communicate via Twitter with my coworkers. This also goes back to my statement that Twitter is a retarded form of chat/instant messenger.

Maybe it is time to evolve from Twitter and micro-blogging back to blogs and maybe then we can come up with a new better form of instant online communication. There are web sites which are trying to compensate for the character and hopefully grammar limitations by starting services, which mimic Twitter and such, but also allowing for longer post. But, again, if you think about it, isn’t that simply creating another blogging platform?!! Looks to me that people are evolving back.


  1. Hi Alex. I completely agree with you. Specially the limit on 140 characters.

    If you like Tinypaste, may I suggest you take a look at also? And specifically

    shorttext has been around much longer...has a deeper integration with Twitter and even has a Firefox plugin which lets you post more than 140 characters on Twitter without leaving the site.

  2. Hi Jim. Thank you for your comment.

    I did see and a hand full of other alternatives being mentioned in comments of the Techcrunch review post of tinypaste:

    ShortText does seem as a good alternative. I also like the potential of their Firefox plugin. I will will definitely have to try it out.

  3. Thanks...interesting read on Techcrunch. There are so many of them!

  4. Yes, I was surprised as I kept on seeing more and more in the comments. Before tinypaste I had not heard of this type of services before, even though it appears that they have been around for years.

    I am happy that there is such a variety to choose from.


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