tweetbirdAs it goes, we’re pretty big fans of Twitter. But this week, we’ve decided to put the case for and against the popular social network.

Today: why it’s a waste of time. Tomorrow: why it’s not. Completely disagree with one of these views? Don’t forget to leave a comment at the bottom.

It’s been the darling of the media for months. It’s garnered loads of coverage in every imaginable place, from The Sun to The Spectator. It, of course, is Twitter. But hype aside, what does it boil down to?

Is it anything more than millions of people, contributing their 140-character thoughts to an online sea of inanity? We like to believe our Tweets achieve Oscar Wilde levels of wit and intelligence. But actually, are they more George Bush?

Here are our six reasons why time spent on Twitter is time wasted:

  • It’s really distracting. These days, to get any work done, I have to turn off my mobile, close Facebook, shut down my email and tell my coworkers to shove off. Twitter is just one more pointless distraction that stops me doing stuff. It’s not just any stuff either. It’s important stuff.
  • Spammers and con-artists use it too. In gentler times, the worst thing likely to happen to you online was a gentle trading of insults on a bulletin board. On Twitter, you get spammers trying to flog dubious medication and suck you into pyramid schemes.
  • Things posted on Twitter tend to be dull. While maybe a small¬† percentage of Tweets contain interesting stuff, for the most part, it’s like that “Such and such is…” thing on Facebook, only worse.
  • Every self-proclaimed marketing guru thinks it’s the biggest thing ever. Well, since the last biggest thing, at least. Don’t believe the hype machine. The people saying this now are the same people who said downloading music would catch on. Oh, wait…
  • Eventually, some big corporation will make a huge offer for Twitter that the company just can’t turn down. And when that happens, it’ll just be another plucky startup that becomes part of a big empire. Look at what’s happened to Friends Reunited,¬† MySpace and Jaiku. (If you’re thinking “who?”, well, exactly!)
  • Lots of celebrities use Twitter. Like Britney, Jamie Oliver, Mischa Barton and William Shatner.That must make it a part of our celebrity-obsessed culture. So if you want to take a stand against this sort of superficiality, don’t join Twitter. Oh wait, William Shatner’s on Twitter? Actually, that’s pretty cool…

Agree with these points? Disagree? Leave a comment and let us know. Remember to come back tomorrow for the other side of the coin too – why you should be on Twitter, and what you can get out of it.

(Just in case we need to press home the point, we don’t actually believe this all ourselves. Not by a long way – with nearly 2,000 followers, we use Twitter a lot. We just think the arguments against it are worth investigating too.)

Update: We’ve now added six reasons you should be using Twitter to this blog too.

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21 Responses

  • Plumbers Bromley

    I think twitter is a complete waste of time i agree with you on this !!!!!

    September 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm
  • Darren Morley

    The single only advantage to twitter is the celebrity side of things. For real life friends and family nothing beats facebook.

    It is just the same as facbook, only nothig else other than status updates….. Twitter is a huge step backwards from the direction social networking was going.

    i don’t think it counts as a social networking site anyway. Its basically a RSS feed machine… most ppl seem to have some plug in to have wordpress and blog updates twittered automatically now.

    October 1, 2009 at 1:31 pm
  • Peter

    Twitter is definitely a waste of time if you tweet every hour. I saw someone about a week ago spending about 10 minutes deciding how to word a tweet saying there wasn’t enough hours in the day to get their work done.

    October 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm
  • Steve Potter

    I’ve just wasted more time reading this than I have ever done on twit ter… never used it.

    October 1, 2009 at 2:38 pm
  • Nick Price

    For a supposedly balanced article, you didn’t exactly put much effort into balance, did you?

    After all, in your “Six reasons you should be using Twitter”, all the reasons are 100% positive; half of the reasons here mostly read like a sarcastic attempt to persuade people to use the service…

    October 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm
  • Richard Arghiris

    I agree, twitter is a waste of time.

    It’s been useful in driving meagre, fleeting traffic to my site, but on the whole it doesn’t merit the hours of attention (and distraction).

    There’s actually very little conversation going on in Twitter. It’s more self-promotion and marketing, with everyone savagely clawing to get as many followers as possible. Of course, once you follow more than a couple of hundred people, the time-line becomes unreadable anyway.

    Worse than this, it’s an unreliable service that’s prone to breakdowns. The customer service is poor too. LAME.

    October 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm
  • StarMariner

    Is it me or did everyone above say the same thing?
    By the way, if anyone has read all the words in this Tweet I’d be suprised, the rest of the message is just drivle and spuling miztakes to make up the 140 characters, would you beleive it I am struggling to find enough words already, well thats a suprise to me, maybe it has its uses but its just a means of placing ones thoughts in a Macroverse of webnets that no one is really going to take in. if you have read this far, here is a an idea for you, make a twitter compressor that greys out what other people have already repeated in previous messages. If you do make this Idea work, please drop me a message, or twitter with a bit of credit to me, cheers. Googlebye. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Thats a lot of Kisses. I give up can’t think of anything else to add, how many characters was that I used ?

    October 1, 2009 at 4:53 pm
  • Keith Davis

    I just don’t get twitter…. but everyone is talking about it and doing it.
    Perhaps it is one of those things that ultimately you have to go along with because it has such marketing potential and you can’t get left behind.
    Look forward to reading your case in favour and then I’ll make a decision.

    October 1, 2009 at 7:31 pm
  • Marc Draco

    Twitter’s genius! I mean, it has no proven way to make money, burns it almost as fast as a small army and still the company behind it have managed to raise $millions!

    They way things are headed, it could be the biggest net bubble to burst ever.

    October 1, 2009 at 7:55 pm
  • laura

    why stop at Twitter ? honestly unless your under 18, you’ve got no excuse to follow Twitter, Facebook etc…. unless it’s to update some pics. that you want to share with people who matter – Updating your life by the day or the minute just shows A/ you haven’t got a life B/ you have a life but it’s empty C/ you’re totally shallow and insecure – PS : hi to all my so-called girlfriends who are lady of leisure and have shallow lives – Do I sound and feel superior ???? too right !!!!! shame that this little rant won’t be seen by too many people

    October 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm
  • Deborah

    I only use twitter to comment on the cricket with david lloyd. It is great to be able to air your views on what is happenign onthe pitch as it happend. This is the only thing I use it for.

    October 1, 2009 at 9:17 pm
  • rikkito

    I tend to use Twitter for public things and Facebook for thing I want to keep more private. Of course, boring messages are going to be boring on every format, but this is more a problem with people misunderstanding what these networks are for than what they actually are.

    October 1, 2009 at 10:57 pm
  • James Blunt

    Twitter is far better than most networking sites. It’s easy to find people with similar interests and businesses and it’s a bit more grown up than facebook.

    Facebook has become an ego trip for the insecure to collect friends by the hundreds (most of which they never see in the real world or even like!).

    Twitter is slightly different. It’s a great marketing tool for serious people and businesses and the fact it has more serious indivuals on it makes it a winner for me!

    Networking for the thinking man/women.

    October 2, 2009 at 2:29 am
  • Bingo Base

    I’m siding with the time wasters like all the social networking tools out there. Just another online place to waste your life at.

    But like all websites, you’ve got to add one.

    October 2, 2009 at 8:14 am
  • Steffan

    “The Twits” by Roald Dahl is a great read for children and adults unless you have a bierd and are easily offended. It’s less of a waste of time than Twitter too. My life is interesting to me. But I haven’t got time to give a running commentary to people who should have better things to do. I’m only doing this now ’cause I’m in bed with flu. There are sheep, leaders and innovators in this world. The sheep are the twits suckered into using Twitter as some kind of cool thing. They’re the ones who tweak their first 2 fingers on each pathetic hand when they use the word cool. Then there’s the leaders, who for some unknown reason, feel the need to lead sheep. Some analogies call them shepards. For these people Twitter is great to feel really important, like Katy Price or Banksy. Then finally there are innovators who use Twitter as a marketing tool. The Wolves, so to speak. Because sheep and wannabes are easy the extract cash from. Users of 123-reg by their nature are innovators. Which is why I can be scathing and get away with it. But if you use Twitter to Market your services, don’t waste more time than you have to. Big companies employ PR people to do it. Unless you are a multinational leave Twitter to the twits and let the sheep chatter. Publicity stunts are the only way to Market on a budget and remeber it.

    October 2, 2009 at 9:31 am
  • Sally

    Totally agree with all the above, especially Laura (1/10/09, 8.44pm)

    October 2, 2009 at 8:08 pm
  • Neil

    I agree its a waste of time. the only reason I joined was for marketing as in a recent seminare it was sited as a bonus to be in the twitter community. If this is the case then over time it will loos its impact and become irelivant exept to the weak headed.


    October 4, 2009 at 11:13 pm
  • Nigel Adams

    …and still Twitter keeps growing – see

    This is an example of news from anywhere in the world being spread by Tweets faster, not just via normal media. No wonder journalists use Twitter!

    October 5, 2009 at 5:53 am
  • crummo

    Social networking sites are generally shallow and following celebrity no different, there are much better sources of information whether that is news, reviews etc.
    This is just a reflection of todays culture – We can’t be bothered to look for information it’s easier to ask and have it delivered, doesn’t matter if its right. Everyone believes they can be and wants their own celebrity. We have grown used to incessant inane texting so why not do the same on line. We follow the whims and fads or people who have fame and cash it doesn’t mean they know anything and using a product just because they do is just maketing suckering.
    Bottom line is we are human, we have needs and we have failings.
    Millions of people use social networking and it’s always been necessary to do your marketing where the people are. So these sites have become the places for business etc to be and they then have a reason to drive more people there.
    If you have a web site then fresh content is one key for search engine ranking an easy way to do this is with a blog/Twitter refreshing news content on your home page.
    Much of what people write on these sites is banal rubbish, much of what companies write in their newsletter etc is the same hence why I wouldn’t normally subscribe to any mailing, if I want to know I’ll go looking.
    I got here through an email newsletter and have now foisted my opinions on the world, guess that’s my 15 minutes of fame done with.

    October 5, 2009 at 9:52 am