Twitter is over.  Finished.  Through.  Overdone and dun.  How do I know?  I have the evidence right here:

That image is the official Twitter stream from MSNBC as of the writing of this article.

Twitter is no longer techo-nerdy or the next best thing.  That honor now belongs to FriendFeed and when it comes to pure messaging fun, Facebook wins hands down.

Twitter is now mainstream, for-profit, incredibly boring and no longer ours as a commercial-free zone.

We will now be hectored via Tweet streams now that the “cool kids” have taken over the technology. 

Celebrities and News Anchors, no longer protected by their PR people, are now free to show just how stupid and sloth-like they are in their unedited Twitter streams. 

Sure, now their illusion of perfectionism and intellectualism is broken, but at what cost?  The price we pay is the forced acquiescence of our patient, good intentions, being overridden by their Tweetered self-importance.

I was never big into Twitter.  I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to know what I’m eating for lunch — and I still don’t — but we use Twitter to promote blog entries and there are some interesting people to follow on Twitter, but once you follow over 100 people your mind begins to blur and those Twits who are following over 40,000 people are, I guarantee you, only reading their closest 100 friends.

So why “follow” 39,900 other people if you don’t care a single breath about them?  Ego massaging and platform polishing is the uncomfortable answer.  Twitter is just a numbers game in followers and the followed — get the religious angle? — and that insane 140-character limit.

Cut off the public numbers propagation of Twitter followers and the followed and Twitter will be dead in a week.  Nobody loves Twitter — everybody loves Facebook — but everybody had to be on Twitter to be considered important and impressive.  With the rise of the MSNBC-like commercialization of the service, that hepcat shine is gone and washed downstream with Windows Vista.

The only joy I get out of Twittering is in crafting Twits that are exactly 140 characters.  I get satisfaction out of the perfection of the ridiculous characters limit.

This morning, the most boring senator in the history of the free world — Chuck Grassley from Iowa — confirmed to MSNBC news live on the air he was, indeed, on Twitter (imagine your grandpa with a dedicated phone line plugged into your eye in ongoing 140-character pokes) and he even corrected the “news anchor” model that you don’t “Twit” on Twitter your “Tweet” on Twitter and as Norah O’Donnell cackled at her correction by the pedantic hillbilly, you knew right then Twitter had just been killed in its nest by a senator reveling in the cackle of a commercial correction.


  1. Personally, the 140 character limit is one of the reasons I love Twitter. That and the occasional actual response from Doug Benson.

  2. Twitter won’t get killed by anyone, let alone by MSNBC. It will morph into something else eventually. Then grow huge, like Myspace and wither away before some other (can’t live without) idea comes along.
    In the mean time, our borders will always let illegal immigrants in thereby diluting our kind.
    The lone remaining superpower is too busy with tech fads, while a lowly, unarmed, tweetless illegal takes on our folly head on.

  3. Chris —
    I agree Twitter will become something else, but in a year it won’t look anything like what it does today because big money and the power interests will have commercialized it to suit their needs and not those of the early adopters that brought the whole service into being.
    Today was a watershed moment as the sleeping media giant awakened and dubbed “Twitter goooood” and now they’ll all gang up to take Twitter as their own little cuddle-bunny while the rest of us edge cutters seek refuge over at FriendFeed until Rupert Murdoch buys it to compete with Twitter and we have to start all over again…
    If Twitter didn’t publisher Following/Follower numbers — would it be as popular today as just an SMS service?
    If Twitter is all about the numbers — and not about the text being sent — then Twitter has always been more about PR than creating content and that, in the marketplace of ideas, is valueless.

  4. The thing I love about the 140 is the same as why I love haikus and 10txt : I love having a constriction that makes you rethink how to express something given the restrictions.
    Doug Benson is a stand-up comedian most famous for appearing on the television show Best Week Ever and for having made the documentary “Super High Me” about doing pot for 30 days straight after not doing it for 30 days.

  5. Gordon —
    Thanks for explaining your 140 character love. I bet if Twitter had a 500 word limit it would be less popular because there would be more pressure to write more, to make logical sense, and be less purposefully obtuse and teasing.
    Doug Benson! Yeah! Know the face, not the name. Just looking at him makes me laugh. He’s totally good and hilarious! Are his Tweets as funny as his facial expressions?

  6. The funny thing about his tweets is that if you have listened to him enough, you get the feeling that you are actually reading his thoughts because they sound like things that would lead to him saying what he says in his standup. Having spoken with him after one of his appearances, it really is just like him.

  7. No thank you. I’ll stay with my pad and paper and the regular mail to tell people what’s happening in a letter.

  8. “Nobody loves Twitter”
    I do.
    I agree now that it is “mainstream”, it won’t be as much fun, but it is still an enlightening, chaotic, mesmerizing neighborhood I prefer over Facebook or FriendFeed.
    Hope you’ll give it another shot.
    And follow me. 😉

  9. I’m glad you like the service, David.
    I guess I prefer to spend my time reading something that has been more carefully crafted than a 140 character, mindless, blast. Very few people I have followed in the past were ever able to even be cogent in their Tweets and I’m not interested in reading an endless stream of DMs and Replies between people I don’t know.

  10. Hi David,
    I am blissfully unaware about “twitter” and after reading this I don’t think I would want to know/ use…this is not my forte I guess…

  11. Twitter is gaining a lot of mainstream, commercial, “appeal,” Katha — and that’s what will kill it as a social network. Commerce, payments, advertising and paid shills will overtake the service until it becomes unrecognizable.
    Keith Olbermann on MSNBC said on the air the other night that his Twitter stream is not written by him! Someone else is pretending to be him on Twitter and Twitter won’t do anything to shut down the fake account even though Keith asked them to remove the stream because he had nothing to do with it! That is a big problem. You have no idea if people are who they say they are on Twitter or not.

  12. Well, today’s NYTimes exposes what a sham and fake Twitter has become:

    An unabashed user of ghost Twitterers is Guy Kawasaki, a new-media consultant with more than 80,000 followers, who is full of praise for the two employees who enliven his Twitter feed, often posting updates while he is on stage addressing a conference.
    “Basically, for 99.9 percent of people on Twitter, it is about updating friends and colleagues about how the cat rolled over,” he said. “For a tenth of a percent it is a marketing tool.”
    Annie Colbert, a 26-year-old freelance writer from Chicago who is one of Mr. Kawasaki’s ghost Twitterers, said she judged her performance based on how often her postings for Mr. Kawasaki are “retweeted,” that is, resent by other users of Twitter.
    If the people you think you’re following really aren’t the people — what’s the point of following?

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