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What’s the Point of Twitter?

Having lived from forums through IRC, web sites and blogs, the mules often look at both their Twitter accounts and the news, and feel lost in thinking that Twitter has no point.

Or perhaps Twitter has no point, and that’s the point. Or Twitter is a mild evolution, and that’s what modern print media calls a revolution. Darwin made headlines with evolution, but it’s been revolutions like Twitter in times since – better headlines, perhaps.

The fear the mules have lost the point of Twitter is what makes them continue to experiment with it at all. It’s a chat room, except it’s not in real time. Twitter can be a private chat room, too – but not in real time.

Twitter’s gravity of adoption and social media bullhorns has helped it gain a number of interesting tools… but how did it get there, and why is it still here?

Others predicted Twitter would die. The mules tried it, tried also-rans like Plurk, and put them all in the death box early in 2008. The also-rans have died, or will, so the interface and presentation has something to do with the popularity – but not the point.

It’s a mass mailer. It’s a chat room. It’s conveniently mobile… for people who don’t want to use contact lists, email, or chat on their mobile phones and devices. It’s generally anonymous if one wants, a Gmail that can build a house list.

Twitter is fast. Or better said, the sum of those who use it make it fast – first on the scene, hash-marked or otherwise.

But the mules are beginning to feel they’ve found the point of Twitter. It’s not an alter ego, and seldom avatar ego, it’s altar ego. Worship the numbers.

Twitter is, for the majority, a great big scoreboard that proves how many people will suffer to hear where u know where 2 eat teh bestest pancakes evar in Baltimore @ 1am on a sunday drunk.

There are those who claim Twitter invites community and creates a swift ability to grow friendships – a kind of speed dating for people too lazy – or with too little to say – to bother with the longer term required to win friends in forums and other communities; take FaceBook or MySpace.

Right. Invite those 23,102 people over for Thanksgiving and see who shows.

Twitter is a new high in disposable ego stroking. Follow the mules, and they follow you – now then, don’t we all feel better about pancakes in Baltimore? Twitter is a cloying new syrup for the emo soul, proof that meaningful and meaningless have become postmodern equals; conversations and connections can exist in harmony, and more is more is moar!

The point of Twitter is not to hear it first. Does 99.9% of the Twitter stream really matter, give or take ten minutes? The point is not to make new – real – friends. The point of Twitter is a new form of arcade game, and the high score is just that, a number.

It’s time to go block and remove a few hundred followers. The mules learned, back in the rough and tumble days of junior high, that popularity is a contest, but not one that matters for long, nor ever halts. The high score will be broken, the legends will come and fade.

There will be a Twitter Yearbook before long. Scream your own name loud and long enough, and you may just make page one. You’ll need to sign it yourself – nobody else is in this to read your copy.

But you’ll know you were the Twitter King or Queen of the Prom.  Isn’t that the point?

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