Twitter into the Dark Ages

We are not tremendous fans of Twitter — mainly because we find 140-character Tweets the lowest form of contentless publication that pretends to have prescience — but now we must bite our tongues and bind our fingers as we realize the Golden Age of the Web is over as Twitter heralds the advent of the New Dark Ages.


Here’s why we are predicting the end of the Golden Age:

Is there gold in them thar tweets?

Maybe so, because-according to sources familiar with the situation-Twitter is in advanced talks with Microsoft and Google separately about striking data-mining deals, in which the companies would license a full feed from the microblogging service that could then be integrated into the results of their competing search engines.

Sources said a number of scenarios are being discussed to compensate Twitter for its huge and potentially valuable trove of real-time and content-sharing information, generated from the data stream of billions of tweets from its 54 million monthly users.

Let me get this straight:  Bing and Google want to pay Twitter so they can index all those meaningless Tweets and include them in our search returns?

How is that memeingful content worthy of a second life?

When are we all going to stand up and shout out to the world that we know the king has no clothes:  We know Twitter hath no feathers!

Why do we still pretend Tweets have a context that deserves preservation and indexing?

We do it because Tweeting is easier than real writing. I know many bloggers who have given up their blogs to Tweet all day long. We have lost community mindshare and moral relevance in that disconcerting disconnect between thought and impulse. We now run on raw instinct instead of practiced intellect.

When we turn away from the difficult sun to find comfort in a cold dimming — the Dark Ages descend and suspend us — and we become merely a series of unchained, static, moments instead of an unlimited, expanding, and connected, deep, human, cogency.

10 comments

  • Wow, David. Wow. I take Twitter for what it seems to be: an outlet for people to let you know about one-off thoughts that pass through their mind, or to quickly update people on events as they happen — eg a conference. Nothing as important as, say, an actual blog. Sad that people are quitting their blogs in favour of Twittering.

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  • I don’t understand the value of Bing and Google wanting to index these Tweets, Gordon. For what purpose? How would one cite a Tweet? The citation would be longer than the Tweet it was sourcing!

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    Thanks a lot for speaking my mind David. Glorifying “twitter” is like worshipping glamorous substancelessness – which I find pointless.
    With 140 character being published…”everyone” is a writer…

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  • I keep trying to find real value in Twitter, Katha — even if there were 500 character Tweets — and I just don’t see it as anything more serious than personal amusement. We use Twitter to send out links to new articles for the Boles Blogs Network and for other interesting finds… but for sharing real thoughts… I can’t seem to do it in 140 characters. I find substantive writing needs a beginning a middle and an end. 10txt.com is a fun exercise in being cogent and precise — while Twitter seems to be replacing real writing from previously admired minds.

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  • Gahhhhhh!

    You can read more about Bing’s new Twitter search on their blog or just try it out. Twitter is providing Bing access to the overwhelming deluge of public, real-time tweets rushing in from all around the world so they can help you find those that make the most sense right now. While Twitter currently presents tweets based simply on timeliness, Bing is experimenting with new solutions such as “best match.” We hope more working relationships with organizations in the search business will mean even more variety for users.

    http://blog.twitter.com/2009/10/bing-goes-dynamite.html

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  • Noooooooooo!

    Our friends down in Mountain View want to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. A fast growing amount of information is coursing through Twitter very quickly, and we want there to be many ways to access that information. As part of that effort, we’ve partnered with Google to index the entire world of public tweets as fast as possible and present them to their users in an organized and relevant fashion.

    http://blog.twitter.com/2009/10/google-nice.html

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  • Such a fun image and so very true. I don’t do the Twitter and I wouldn’t know how to go about it. Reminds me of the old days and pagers. Who wants to talk in short speak that doesn’t make sense. I’ll take a full email and blog article thank you.

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  • I still don’t get Twitter. I try to see the value in short spurts of blabbering and I cannot find anything of significance, Anne. It will be interesting to see how Twitter starts making money.

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