Cafe Witness

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hating Twitter Is Like Hating a Hammer

There's been a lot of social media hate thrown around lately, mainly by people who hear about services like Twitter in the mainstream press and then, once they poke around a bit, reject it immediately and with much gusto.

The bitter invective comes from all sides, including Jon Stewart, Gawker, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and this amusing cartoon.

And they all miss the point.

I Would Rather Eat Live Children in a Barrel Than Use a Power Drill

Twitter, like all social media, is a tool. It can be used to entertain, to share, to self-promote, to inform or to educate. Unfortunately, casual observers rarely see the breadth of its use because the bulk of its users aim low, and use the service in inane ("OMG drinking tea cuz I'm sooooo tired lol") ways. Thus, they conclude that these are the only ways the service can be used, and they choose to decry the service (and ALL of its users) as the worst humans on the planet while simultaneously distancing themselves from anything associated with it.

Explaining to these people that Twitter has also been used to exonerate innocents from jail, unite outsiders during a tragedy and raise life-saving donations doesn't always help. If anything, it only seems to exasperate them further -- as though they wonder, "If you CAN do all that stuff with Twitter, why DOESN'T everyone?"

But asking that question is like asking why every building isn't as gorgeous as the Taj Mahal. Trust me: it isn't the hammer's fault.

Image by Being Yogendra.

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2 Comments:

  • I liken Twitter to a library. People who complain about Twitter are the library patrons who pick up the phone book and announce, "This is stupid. Who would want to read a book of names and numbers?"

    Guess what, genius? Plenty of other books in the library, and most ain't phone books. Read what you like, or get out.

    By Anonymous Wade Kwon, at 10:05 AM  

  • It's actually easy to hate a hammer. A hammer is a very abused tool. Everyone has one. Not everyone has the tool they need for the job. So what happens? You see if you can make due with the hammer in place of what you need. Maybe you hurt yourself with the hammer, or end up doing damage you wouldn't have if you'd only used the correct tool.

    A hammer, in my life, is a necessary evil. I have 4. My hope, though, is that I have the right tool, somewhere, and will use it instead when it matters.

    By Blogger shadow, at 9:43 AM  

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