After Seven Years, Why Am I Using Twitter?

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I don’t exactly know why I see a lot of people celebrating the seventh anniversary of Twitter, but whatever. I guess it’s as good a time as any to reflect on the service, because over the years I’ve been using it I’m still not completely sure why.

I don’t doubt that Twitter is important; I just haven’t personally been able to find a use for it that fits perfectly into the rest of my life. It’s something about overlap of information utilities, social media, and what have you. Sure that show’s Twitter’s flexibility as a tool, but I think it also shows a sort of lack of focus depending on your lifestyle.

For some people Twitter is a quick, immediate news feed. For others it’s a quick, immediate social network, or both or something. Generally I think the problem is that we have too many of these things and a lot of people like myself are being forced to use all of them at once.

I actually resisted setting up a Twitter account for probably the first few years of its existence because I was perfectly happy with RSS and Facebook. I only set one up because a lot of the people and publications I follow started posting a significant amount of their important content on Twitter, and I had to keep up with the joneses. By the same token, I only recently set up a Google+ account because a group of people I like holding discussions with moved their entire operation over there, and those discussions are almost my sole use for Google+.

From the news angle, I guess I’ve been using Twitter as a sort of more constant and immediate version of RSS. RSS is still my primary source of news, but I’m not checking it every five minutes. I actually only check RSS once or twice a day — it’s basically become my daily newspaper. Twitter to me is like a frequent newswire in-between. Even then I’m still unsure if that isn’t just creating unnecessary overlap in my daily information consumption, since I end up getting a lot of the same stories at least twice through RSS and Twitter.

Socially I’ve split up my circles of friends between Facebook and Twitter in a weird attempt to make some sort of sense of it all. For me, Facebook has become extremely personal, my interactions there now being almost completely restricted to people I actually know in real life — close friends and family pretty much. Everyone else — mainly my online friends and business contacts goes into my Twitter feed, which just feels less personal.

Most of the time I myself tweet it’s to post a link to something. Everyday conversational tweeting just hasn’t factored into my life.

Here’s what I’m saying: Facebook is (in my opinion) for connecting with people you know who are far away, LinkedIn is for finding and managing employment, Steam and MiiVerse are for sharing things about video games, what is Twitter for? I guess it’s for all of those things, but as a result it isn’t extremely good for any of them.

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