Tweet This: Nobody Even Knows Not to Give a Fuck

Posted on April 2, 2008
Filed Under Web 2.0 Kool Aid |

My distaste for everything Twitter-related is not a secret. In my opinion, Twitter is, for all practical intents and purposes, completely useless. It is, at best, a virtual hub of chronic time-wasters and at worst, a cesspool of narcissistic twats.

Given this, it’s not surprising that Twitter is one of the most hyped Web 2.0 properties and if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having any exposure to the Web 2.0 “community,” you just might find yourself believing that Twitter is a revolutionary communications platform set to take over the world.

Fortunately, those with some perspective know that’s likely not the case. While Twitter is popular, it’s not mainstream and probably never will be.

Yesterday, Allen Stern at CenterNetworks a YouTube video created by NYU student Alana Taylor that provides some interesting, if not amusing, perspective for those who need it:

While Alana’s informal street survey is far from a scientific poll, it does demonstrate that average consumers (the type you’ll find walking down the street in a major city) often have no knowledge of the hottest Web 2.0 properties that Web 2.0 kool aid sippers might assume everyone knows about.

In the case of Twitter, the fact that it offers little real utilitarian value has probably played a role in relegating it to the world of geeks, narcissists and those with far too much time on their hands.

But there’s no reason to single out Twitter. It was interesting to note that only a relatively small number of people approached by Alana had ever heard of Flickr, and of those that had, most were not users.

Clearly, Web 2.0 popularity doesn’t necessarily equate to mainstream popularity. While that should be common sense, common sense is in short supply in Web 2.0 so it’s not surprising that the Web 2.0 community spends half its time talking about services that the average person can’t even give a fuck about because he hasn’t even heard of them.

After watching Alana’s video, I realized that Web 2.0 has one thing in common with Las Vegas and it’s definitely not nights of hot promiscuous sex with the attendees of bachelorette parties. So what does Web 2.0 have in common with Las Vegas? What happens in Web 2.0 stays in Web 2.0 - most of the time. Thank god for little things.

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10 Responses to “Tweet This: Nobody Even Knows Not to Give a Fuck”

  1. Ralf on April 2nd, 2008 8:55 am

    Great post. Reeeaaaallly enjoyed it. Thing is that many of those so-called “Web 2.0″ applications aren’t applications (or solutions to any sort of a problem). But - Twitter, for instance, could well make sense as a feature in another application, not more though. The web has become a playground. And don’t get me wrong - I think this is great. Not every idea somebody has somewhere represents a viable business idea, though. Has someone, by the way, ever answered the question how Twitter is expected to generate money …?

  2. jro on April 2nd, 2008 9:55 am

    All true, but won’t there be value when we start to see the same functionality applied to a specific vertical?

    Take the bathroom visit scenario. You can let people know that you’re in the can/head/restroom the old fashioned way — telling everyone in the room “hey, i’m going to the can/head/restroom”. Or, as a way of displacing the old way of doing it, you can send your message to “shitr” — a vertical implementation of twitter. Heck, you can even use their API!

    Oops, it’s April 2. I missed it. Never mind.

  3. Bill on April 2nd, 2008 10:31 am

    I am glad there are other people out there with a complete distaste for Twitter. I think it is utterly useless. I could care less if my friends were in the can or in a long line at the mall.

    I think the fact that 2.0 sites are not mainstream is a good thing. Look at the mainstream 2.0 sites. Facebook started out good when it was college only but now that its the valleys love child all it wants to do is please everyone. All the stupid apps and what not take so much away from the experience. The not so mainstream sites like Flickr are wonderful. I love and use Flickr everyday.

  4. antje wilsch on April 2nd, 2008 1:13 pm

    heh, glad the mob didn’t take you out D

  5. Morgan on April 2nd, 2008 8:48 pm

    The Web 2.0 world could not be more myopic. I can’t believe Techmeme even needs to exist, because every press release is covered in the same way on every major blog. Webware is maybe the only place that might review a service because it’s an interesting service, as opposed to being a service that is interested in sending out a whirlwind of press releases.

  6. Commoncents on April 3rd, 2008 1:33 am

    This was an eye opener for me since I flirt around the edges of Web 2.O but don’t delve into the sites that “claim” to have some type of following. Apparently Twitter is only based on the question “What are you dong now” and thats it.

    Wow! That is so empty it is jaw dropping!

  7. on April 3rd, 2008 1:00 pm

    I think you make a good point about 2.0 preaching to the choir… but this video? Far from scientific? The methodology is downright horrible. Anyone could go shoot and edit a 4 minute video of people saying they love Flickr and are crazy for Twitter and it would prove just as little as this video does.

  8. Drama 2.0 on April 3rd, 2008 1:16 pm

    M Neigh: note my comment “While Alana’s informal street survey is far from a scientific poll…”

    I still believe, however, that if you were to conduct a similar informal survey anywhere outside of Silicon Valley, you’d get similar results.

    The vast majority of people I know are not technology folks and very few of them know about Twitter, Flickr, etc.

    While it’s certainly possible that the people I know are the exception and not the rule, based on all of the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, I’d put a significant amount of my future child’s college fund on a bet that most mainstream consumers don’t know what Twitter is and don’t really care.

  9. Robert Scoble Needs to Get Real : The Drama 2.0 Show on April 14th, 2008 2:06 pm

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  10. The Real “Friend Divide” : The Drama 2.0 Show on April 28th, 2008 12:03 am

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