#14 Twitter – what’s the point?

Despite the confrontational title, I am actually a big fan of twitter. Questions about twitter or about facebook versus twitter have come up thrice so far, which makes me think this might be a good topic for a blog post. Mostly, people I’ve talked to are of the opinion that twitter doesn’t provide anything that cannot be done with facebook. On the surface, this is true, but I am of the opinion that twitter fills its niche better than facebook and that in fact facebook is weakening its own concept by trying to implement all the functionalities of twitter. Let’s have a look at both platforms, strictly from my own point of view:

Facebook

The main reason for me to use facebook is to stay in touch with old friends. It’s great to see that Harriet ran for charity in the UK or that Stephen renovated his house in the USA or that Tobias left Gibraltar for a few weeks and is back in Germany. Sure, facebook also allows celebrities and their fan pages to show up in my news feed, but that is not my primary concern when I’m on facebook. In fact, when fan pages become too spammy, I change their settings to not receive updates anymore. Keeping in touch with people that are near and dear to me, but who are unfortunately not near location wise, is the point of facebook to me.

Twitter

Twitter on the other hand is more of a selective actual news feed. Main stream media doesn’t report what’s new with the band MANOWAR? No problem, I’ll just follow them on twitter and will get the latest updates about new songs, their tours and such. A friend of mine agreed that she has never been as up to date with what her favourite musicians are up to as she has been now that she joined twitter. I had my account for a while, but did not start writing twitter posts (tweets sounds weird, somehow) until 2013. To me, actively writing on twitter seemed pointless, if one isn’t famous, as only few people will read your posts. I still think it has value to passively use it as a filtered news source. Right now I have 18 followers on twitter, which isn’t much, but hopefully that number will increase. Also, I responded to a post by 2k games and they reposted it, sending about 40 people to my blog. Thanks a bunch!

That said, I do not understand why people sign up for twitter and then make their tweets private. If you only want people that you know to read your updates, facebook seems like the better address, despite the latest prism / tempora scandals and facebook’s frequent attempts to water down its own model.

Character limit

Some people also complained that posts on twitter are restricted to 140 characters, whereas there are no such limits on facebook. I think this is a “historical” restriction – before wifi and smart phones were common, you could still link your regular mobile phone number to twitter and write messages by sending a text message. That way, people could still inform their readers on the go about what’s happening. Granted, nowadays the restriction does not necessarily make sense anymore. For short updates twitter is still sufficient and anything longer can be tackled on a blog. The latest trend to simply post links to facebook on twitter is a bit disheartening, though.

Who do I follow on twitter?

Here is my list of arbitrary categories as determined by the number of followers. I’ll list the people I follow in each of those brackets:

0 passive user

For obvious reasons, I don’t follow anyone with zero followers.

1 to 9 family and friends account

Ge siik Dear friend of mine from London.

Mark Hillebrand One of my oldest and best friends in all the world.

Blauer Mango Code names are probably there for a reason.

Armin Herbertz My brother, who never posts on twitter :/

Rob Scientist, poker player, I’d say buddy of mine, but haven’t spoken for a few years. Oh well.

10 to 99 twitter noob

Kai Herbertz “36 year old scientist, emerging writer, game designer.”

without my echo “writer working on short stories, novels, M.A. thesis; passionate about books (Kafka, Hoban, Oates, Murakami), music (indie pop, twee, shoegaze), animal rights”

Sarah Sheila My good buddy from beautiful Canada.

Nils Herbertz My cousin, who never posts on twitter :/

Linda One of my online friends from the straight dope messageboard days.

Olivia Mcewan “Figurative painting and portraiture | Medieval art historian | Wine marketing | Freelance art criticism”

100 to 999 someone

Brooke S. Passey “reader, writer, horseback rider, daughter, sister, wife, friend, human. Student Editor-In-Chief @SuperstitionRev” Sister of Lindsey Stirling, writer, currently working on a biography with Lindsey.

Brit Weisman “Production.Science.Books.Films.Learning.Action. Fashion.Games.Photography.Sleep.”

Jan PS “Redakteur, Historiker, hier mit Nachrichten aus der Welt der Burgen und Schlösser” Journalist, tweets mostly in German.

Chip Power Play Twitter channel of a computer game test magazine that was popular in the 1990s and was recently relaunched.

Queitsch “Itinerant philosopher.” Good friend of mine.

Jenny May Nuyen German fantasy author.

1k to 10k-1 VIP

Drew Steen “Drummer to the tweeny stars (demi lovato, david archuleta, kris allen, reel big fish, victoria justice, ryan beatty, lindsey stirling,)”

Jason Gaviati keyboarder on tour with Lindsey Stirling.

Rachel Aaron “Author of The Legend of Eli Monpress series from Orbit Books.”

Tristan D Brand “Writer, Gamer, Musician”

Robert Clotworthy “Robert is a professional actor with over 1,000 credits. He is best known as the voice of Jim Raynor in StarCraft and the narrator of Ancient Aliens”

Heinrich Lenhardt Video game journalist and one of my childhood heroes.

10k to 100k-1 minor celebrity

Geek & Sundry Youtube channel founded by Felicia Day, featuring several different “geeky” shows.

Eppic “Rapper/Songwriter”

Xuan Liu “Idealistic Poker Heroine”

Amber Benson First noticed her as an actress on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but nowadays she’s better known as an author.

Brandon Sanderson “Fantasy novelist. Mistborn, The Rithmatist, The Wheel of Time, The Stormlight Archive.”

Guido Henkel “Award-winning game developer, and creator and writer of the Jason Dark: Ghost Hunter series of Victorian-era supernatural mysteries (http://www.jasondarkseries.com )”

Liv Boeree “Poker player, TV presenter, Metalhead, Physics-lover, Adrenaline Junkie and Member of Team PokerstarsPro”

Chris Moneymaker “The Official Twitter of Chris Moneymaker- 2003 World Series of Poker Champion.”

Dario Wünsch Starcraft 2 pro player.

Smudo Legendary German rapper.

Joe Hachem “Hey it’s me, that guy that won the @WSOP in ’05. Yep, still playin #poker and traveling all over the place and still tryin to keep out of mischief.”

Daniel Negreanu This account is merely for chip updates of Daniel Negreanu during the tournaments that he plays.

Jim Butcher Author of the fantastic Dresden Files series.

MANOWAR Dare I say the best band in the whole world? Yes!

Nika Harper “Your friendly neighborhood community geek and Riot girl. Prone to cackling and obscure music references. I write books, host vlogs, and love dinosaurs!”

100k to 1M-1 celebrity

Marie Digby Famous youtube singer.

Lindsey Stirling Violin sensation and youtube star.

Sean Plott Former professional starcraft player, who transitioned into being a commentator, video producer, CEO, inspirational speaker and all around awesome person.

Daniel Negreanu In my opinion, the second best poker player in the world (no, I’m not the best, that’s Phil Ivey).

Darth Vader Joke account that got his google+ account suspended. Hasn’t tweeted in a while, used to produce solid gold.

Natalie Tran Youtube comedian / actress from Australia.

Kickstarter Crowdfunding platform.

2k games “Official Twitter page for 2K in Europe”

1M to 10M-1 twitter gosu

Felicia Day “Actress, New Media Geek, Gamer, Misanthrope. I like to keep my Tweets real and not waste people’s time.” First noticed her in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it turns out she’s a powerhouse of creative independent film projects.

Brent Spiner Actor, who is best known for his role of Lieutenant Commander Data in Startrek. Went into a twitter hiatus on the 24th of June 2013.

Veronica Belmont “Co-host of @tekzilla, @swordandlaser. Host of #FactOrFictional and #TheSyncUp. Reader, writer, internet obsessed.”

Louis C.K. “I am a comedian and a person and a guy who is sitting here.”

10M+ supreme twitter entity

Avril Lavigne “Professional Rocker” Canadian Singer. I actually didn’t think she had that many followers. Pretty impressive.

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