The Truth (and lies) About Using Twitter

When you test and write about technology for a living, especially if you're focused on emerging technologies, people expect that you are a heavy and enthusiastic user of most technologies. But while there are some technologies I can't live without, there are other hot gadgets and technology trends that just haven't won me over yet. But I still get lots of questions about my use of certain technologies. Jim, where's your iPhone? (for that kind of money, are you kidding me?). How big is your HDTV Jim? (Umm, I still have a good old tube TV, though I guess when that dies I won't have a choice but to go HD). However, one question that I've been getting more and more lately is about the popular Web 2.0 service Twitter. More than a few people have asked why I'm not an eager and heavy Twitter user, you know, an always-on kind of person who obsessively lets everyone know where I am, what I'm doing, and what I'm thinking. To that my standard answer has been that I've tried but that Twitter just isn't for me. While I can see the value for some I'm just not a Twitter type of person.

Twitter.com

When you test and write about technology for a living, especially if you're focused on emerging technologies, people expect that you are a heavy and enthusiastic user of most technologies. But while there are some technologies I can't live without, there are other hot gadgets and technology trends that just haven't won me over yet.

But I still get lots of questions about my use of certain technologies. Jim, where's your iPhone? (for that kind of money, are you kidding me?). How big is your HDTV Jim? (Umm, I still have a good old tube TV, though I guess when that dies I won't have a choice but to go HD).

However, one question that I've been getting more and more lately is about the popular Web 2.0 service Twitter. More than a few people have asked why I'm not an eager and heavy Twitter user, you know, an always-on kind of person who obsessively lets everyone know where I am, what I'm doing, and what I'm thinking.

To that my standard answer has been that I've tried but that Twitter just isn't for me. While I can see the value for some I'm just not a Twitter type of person.

The idea of Twitter is a good one. It just makes sense to have some kind of centralized service where it's easy to find the status of people you work with or are friends with. But I think Twitter's growth and popularity have started to impact the usefulness of the service.

Many people I've spoken to have seen their Twitter feeds get so busy with constant (and mostly useless) updates that they've either stopped using it altogether or basically ignore it. In many ways this is similar to what happened with the RSS feeds, as many people soon found the number of feeds they subscribed to becoming unmanageable.

Now to me, these all seem like pretty good reasons for me to not use Twitter. But I know I'll still get pressure from some to be a more frequent tweeter.

So I've come up with an idea. Looking at the terms of service for Twitter I realized that there was nothing in them about actually telling the truth. It seems that in Twitter it's perfectly fine to lie about your location and activities.

This of course got me thinking. Maybe there was a way for me to be interested enough to tweet every day. And maybe I could make my Twitter feed more interesting for my followers.

So here's the idea. On a regular basis I will lie on my Twitter feed. To make things clear, I'll mark each of these tweets with a faketweet! tag.

With this I can now have one of the more interesting Twitter feeds out there. After all, how many other people are traveling through space and time, hanging out with famous people and basically being present at some of the most famous events in fact and fiction.

Yep, I think I've come across a way to at least make using Twitter interesting for me (if not for others). Who knows, this may even spur me to use Twitter for its normal purpose.

Though given my lack of desire to be an always-on kind of person I really doubt that I'll constantly be posting my status on Twitter. And that's the truth.