Cody Brown just wrote a piece bashing twitter, getting some decent play on a day twitter and other sites took a bruising.
He lodged a few complaints:
- Its 140 character restriction is a blunt instrument. The site does not reflect the potential or nuance in which a public can speak to itself online.
- Usernames are inconsistent and confusing. Twitter is mobbed by impersonators.
- Twitter will either perpetually be simple insofar as its millions of users will have to hack the service to reflect their own values or it will roll the dice on a focus, put the site through chronic redesigns, and risk a mass user exodus.
I don’t know what to say. I just disagree. I mean, twitter’s not perfect, but it’s so open and promising that many very smart people are building it out, cleaning up messes, solving problems, adding value. I guess if folks are really concerned about why I disagree, we can flush it out in the comments.
Here’s what I tweeted yesterday:
By @CodyBrown, a twitter story of wildly exaggerated problems and wildly vague promises of infrastructure and elegance http://bit.ly/18FxmI
And here’s what I tweeted this morning:
Really, @muratny? I’m sorry, but I think @CodyBrown’s piece is overblown and overwrought. http://bit.ly/dwdG9 And I’m sympathetic!
For me, this is one of those tough cases when you don’t want to blow your credibility—whatever you may have—by sounding shrill or acerbic. But let’s call a spade a spade: the piece is mostly vapid. Its reasoning just doesn’t follow.
And when it does make good points, they’re hardly original. Who isn’t gazing deeply into twitter, wondering which of its deep properties is driving its success and will in the future? Content delivered by streams defined in terms of (mostly) people? Or asymmetrical relationships? Overlapping publics? The collapse of the distinction between discourse and content? And who isn’t gazing deeply into twitter, looking for what will follow? Brown’s answer: something real-time and more elegant like facebook, picking up Dave Winer’s idea and trading in Jeff Jarvis’s words. Okay, great, thanks for the insight! Like facebook! Elegant!
They say calling a market bottom is like trying to catch a falling knife. It’s dangerous, and you never really know. Calling a top on twitter is like trying to predict with the naked eye when a rocket’s upward arc will turn back toward earth. What goes up must come down, right? We all know it’s bound to happen at some point, or maybe not, but no one really knows, and, if the rocket’s hurdling your way, insisting that it will fall is just dangerous. Or just silly.