Sunday, March 10, 2013

The iOS App Alphabet

The iOS App Alphabet, article.
Maybe celebrities with gajillions of followers see this kind of retweet action all the time, but for me it was shocking. Nothing I’ve ever produced in any medium over more than a decade as a professional writer has ever come close to garnering as much attention or response as this one tweet.

I post this for two reasons, a sweet and a sour. The sweet is that I like Joe's visual joke. Particularly that there were just 26 slots on the screen.

The sour is that the fact that this little joke got way more attention on Twitter than all of Joes prior work combined, tells us a bundle about Social Networks. Joe Kissell has written many books and articles, typically amongst the best and most readable tech writing you will find.

This is one of the too-many things I really need to get over. When "Web 2.0" appeared around a decade ago, I got a little excited: finally "everybody" would participate in the web, a true explosion of valuable communication!

Well, the explosion I got right, but the "valuable" part I have trouble with. Twitter and FaceBook are 98% mindless chatter, so superficial that it seems almost deliberate. And this is how many people, including many people I love and respect, spend the time they used to spend on TV. Maybe a step up, but do baby steps need to be this small?

I suspect though that hating the Social Web is a bit like hating a new window in a wall, because it shows a dirty and dingy street which you didn't care to walk on before. It's not the window's fault. (After the statement, that seems rather obvious. Maybe I'm not as smart as my mother thought.) (And maybe I should have used a Mirror metaphor, but I'm not mature enough yet to take that much responsibility.)


ttl said...

I know nothing about Facebook; the most contact I have had with that service is to fart in its general direction. But when it comes to Twitter, I honestly don't understand what your, and other people's, problem with it is.

You decide who you follow.
You decide what you tweet about.

You could follow no one, and just tweet Zen koans, or Bible quotes, or weather reports. Or you could tweet nothing, and just follow one user who tweets those kinds of messages.

There's also nothing particularly novel about Twitter. From the user's perspective, Twitter is essentially Internet Relay Chat reimplemented as a centralized service.

Even the maximum length of the tweet (140 chars) is nothing out of ordinary. Ham radio, telex, and morse code messages rarely exceeded that in length.

To use your window analogy, you get to decide what's behind that window. You also get to decide—and more importantly contribute to—how valuable the communication is.

Personally, I never saw that tweet about Joe Kissell's iPad home screen.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

All good points.
I think re Twitter that I'm just a bit broken-hearted. I thought when I signed up that if I selected carefully, I'd get a goldmine of links to very interesting stuff. And while I do find things from there sometimes, the signal/noise ratio is still disappointingly low, despite my careful selection of who I follow.