For years, people asked me if I have a Twitter. I always answered “no”. It took me until recently to realize that this seems to be one of these new fancy technological gadgets. But even after I realized that, the answer remained “no”.
Here are the reasons why I don’t have a Twitter:
- I am generally apprehensive towards new technology. I’ll give it 10 or 15 years to see how it works. I feel no urge to be among the brain-cancer attracting pioneers.
- I watch the news, I listen to radio, I read blogs, newspapers and books. I really don’t need, nor do I have time for another source of information.
- Apparently, one is limited to 140 characters per message on Twitter. That’s not much, especially not for people in love with convoluted sentences, lawyers and German speakers (we have words that are longer than 140 characters). I fall in all three of these groups.
- Also, I don’t like the idea of somebody limiting the flow of my ideas, my mind, my speech and my writing. This is a deeply illiberal approach and I don’t see how it could advance the future of mankind. Maybe they will limit it to 120 characters next year until one day we’ll be limited to sending smiley faces. Is this Twitter company run by Chinese and Japanese who can express much more with fewer character?
- I don’t like to own too many gadgets. A computer, a phone and a camera are already enough for me. I really don’t need something else to carry around with me all the time.
- I don’t even answer my phone most of the time, so I doubt if I would use this Twitter much.
- If I wait, it will probably become cheaper, like anything else that has to do with technology.
- I don’t like to engage in activities for which the verb is derived from a company name. I don’t “google”, I “search online”. There is a perfectly useful English word for it, so I don’t need to take part in a marketing campaign for a company of which I don’t own any shares. As long as there is no English word to describe the activity now called “twittering”, it seems that there hasn’t been any need for this activity in real life.
- As always, there are opportunity costs. If I spend time twittering, I will have less time to enjoy nature or read a book or watch James Bond movies. Proponents of Twitter should consider that I would have to give up something else for it.
- Twitter seems to be for short, snappy pieces of “information”. Twitter prioritizes speed over content. That’s not my approach. I can read the newspaper the next day, or The Economist or Die Zeit after a week or a book after a year and I will get much better analysis.
- I see that some Twitter messages look like this: “OMG! #SXSW 2012 Music Gr8! ow.ly/7QoSt” This is ugly. It destroys language. I refuse to write like this.
But then a friend pointed out that I am actually using my Facebook page just like other people use Twitter. I began to think: If I can somehow hook up my Twitter with my Facebook page and maybe even with my LinkedIn profile, my Skype and all these other fancy things, then I don’t need to write more, but it will potentially reach more people. But will it?
So I am asking you now: Would you follow my musings if they were henceforth disseminated by Twitter, while you wouldn’t do so otherwise? In other words, should I finally get a Twitter or not? Will it really lead to more readers and especially readers’ participation?