Twitter in Plain English: My Reaction. (What’s Your’s?)

I decided to watch the Twitter in Plain English Common Craft Video because I was curious as to why so many people were captivated by this particular social network. After I was finished viewing I was completley turned off to joining.

I decided to watch the Twitter in Plain English Common Craft Video because I was curious as to why so many people were captivated by this particular social network. After I was finished viewing I was completley turned off to joining. The explanation of Twitter’s use in the video was clear cut and easy to understand; it is a network where people can follow every little thing that occurs in a person’s life on a daily basis.

This just makes me wonder where we are going as a society in which people spend hours a day looking at or talking about the most insignificant things. Are we really that bored? Or are we really that self involved? I don’t know the answer to wanting to tell people about small daily events such as mowing the grass or wanting to follow when someone is running late to work through the use of an online site. There are so many days when I hear the phrase—’there just wasn’t enough time.’  Part of me thinks that people using a social network such as Twitter uses up valuable time that could be spent doing something more productive or at the very least more entertaining. I’m not just singling out Twitter because other forms of media are just as much a part of the issue but watching that Twitter video pushed me towards the side of perhaps all of this social networking is killing the process of actually living life to the fullest and rather deciding to follow another persons life and living through them, and not even living the big moments of their lives but instead the ordinary parts.

Kevin McCullough, An Advertising Student.

[Kevin submitted this blog; you can too! Ad Lib wants to hear what you have to say. It’s easy to submit here.]


  1. Ahahaha! I love you Kevin! I totally agree with you.
    I’ve watched this video a while ago and was like “why the hell do I need to share with people that I’m having coffee????”.

    I really don’t want to be connected to people all the time that way.

    I have no twitter account. Because I’m lazy. But I do subscribe to people’s tweet on Google Reader.

    I only follow my friends who always tweet about interesting stuff about movies, books, current issues etc.. that helps me informed. I also follow my favorite writers and band members who I want to know what they are up to in terms of events and shows.

    I also subscribe to quotes by famous people (in Japanese though). I really love that. Not all quotes are great but it often helps my bad day or inspire me to learn about certain historical figures.

    • Those all seem like legit reasons to follow someone on Twitter. I could see myself using the network for my favorite bands and to follow people’s thoughts on actual interesting topics. The video just struck me the wrong way with how the describe its use. If that is what most are using it for, I’d like to stay in the minority on this one.

    • Kevin, I think our conclusion is Common Craft People needs to remake “Twitter in Plain English”!! It doesn’t really explain good sides of Twitter at all.

  2. The last sentence in this post really captures my fear concerning Twitter and other social media networks in general. Twitter is particularly vulnerable to degenerating into complete egoism and banality, since it seems like updates about drinking coffee and the weather are what it was built for. However, I have seen some uses for it. My boyfriend is a line cook and finds a lot of job postings on Twitter, as the turnover at many high-end restaurants is pretty high. You can also find out about a lot of great specials and deals at restaurants and bars using Twitter.

    Nevertheless, I personally do not have a Twitter, and I’ve never even considered having one. It’s become really frightening to me how far this obsession with mediocrity has gone in our culture. It used to be focused only on celebrities (i.e., what Miley Cyrus is eating for breakfast), but now this obsession has come to include our neighbors and coworkers. Why? You’d think that the internet would’ve made people more interested in things beyond the common experience, but now that we all can go on and see what the Himalayas look like, we only want to know what our former high school classmate named their new hamster. Ironic, no?

    • You seem to be on the complete same page with me. I understand wanting to keep up with old friends but at this point the way people follow each other on Twitter just seems desperate to me. Move on and make new friends and share real experiences with them. It can actually be depressing to me that as you said rather than go out and gain new knowledge that could prove beneficial to your actual life, people are choosing to spend their time on something like Twitter which seems to contain you to a small little World, no matter how many friends you have.

  3. I am going to have to disagree with you about the relevance of twitter. When confronted with this video, I am almost compelled to agree with you on the complete waste of time that twitter is, however, the value in it is not found in it’s simple functional explanation, nor it’s most likely initial intention. Where the real value of twitter lies is in it’s indirect application as an information delivery system.

    Now if we get away from the idea of following your friends and hearing about the triviality of their lives while declaring yours, and begin to uncover the comprehensive involvement of all industries and persons of interest across the world; you start to build a base for understanding the incredible power of the twitter universe.

    In the past, and much still in the present, information was slow to be shared. If you want to hear about news, you must wait until it filters through the gatekeepers, each one manipulating in one way or another, and eventually get information, sometimes convoluted, sometimes biased and incomplete. If you want sports news, you go to one website; international news, another; friends lives updates, yet another, and so on and so on (you get the idea).

    Now imagine a world (or in this case a website) where every single topic of discussion that YOU care about is available in one singular place. Imagine a website that opperates like a stock-ticker: real-time, quickly delivered, informative, valuable, short/to-the-point; except the information in the ticker isn’t crazy stock symbols but all the information about the world you can care about. When Cliff Lee came to Philly again, that info was on twitter hours before the first news network ran the story. When Anderson Cooper got his ass beat by Egyptians, can you guess where the news was broken first? When your good friend Rachel choked on her mouthwash because her cat knocked her razor over and cut her foot, whats a more efficient way for her to share that with all her friends at one time?

    Twitter is the most comprehensive, customizable, and intuitive news delivery system ever created.

    Besides being a revolution in news delivery, there is still more influence twitter has over society. Because of the ability to communicate directly between twitter accounts, traditionally one way communications (as in TV) have been given the ability to recieve information quickly, thus creating conversations out of lectures. I can go on explaining this but there was a thurough article written in a recent issue of Fast Company and I think the link will serve a better purpose:

    thanks for reading, I hope this sheds some light on a foreign concept to you!

    Ilya Tetelman

    • I understand your point and appreciate it. I don’t think there is any doubt about how fantastic of an invention Twitter is. The only thing that scares me about what you say is that we are going to Twitter for our news. While it does keep us up to date every moment of the day, there have been instances in which a Twitter post has been taken out of context or even just been untrue. I know this is the case for most if not all media but that kind of my point. Do we not have enough information thrown at us on a daily basis to decipher as being valid or not? Now we have Twitter to deal with which as you said, “is the most comprehensive, customizable, and intuitive news delivery system ever created.” How many ways do you something that powerful can be taken advantage of by people?

  4. The idea behind a social networking site like twitter is great in theory, but when put into practice it often becomes watered down. I do not think the video does a good job at showcasing what possibility a site like twitter has. No one needs to have the instant relay of meaningless updates and for the most part is it just a distraction that pulls individuals away from more productive or creative acts. Celebrity gossip and cliche culture references has mostly taken over the relay of information that is produced on twitter.

    Over the past few weeks the social uprising that has been taking place in Egypt is a great example of how something like twitter can be used for the better of culture. Thousand of individuals can and did organize to try and improve the quality of their lives by using such a tool. It’s unfortunate that there is more of an interest in finding out what Miley Cyrus is doing then using the unique tool to its potential.

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