Saturday, April 18, 2009

Black Sheep are Still Sheep

Most of you know that I am an avid Twitter user, or "tweeter" in the lingo of Twitter.  I've been on it for a year or something, I don't remember because I joined up and then kind of ignored it for a bit, then when a friend got into it, I started to use it more and was hooked.  I love how it opens up new worlds to me, brings me new and interesting things to explore and I meet lots of cool new people.  Both on Twitter and in real life, since I've been going along to the BTUB (Brisbane Twitter User Brigade) get togethers.


Even if you're not a Twitter user, you probably have heard about the whole business with Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) setting a challenge to beat CNN to 1 million followers.  At first it started out as a fun thing he did, saying he was going to ding dong ditch Ted Turner if he got to a million followers before CNN, but it took off so huge (mostly because people love the idea of Ted Turner being ding dong ditched) Ashton realised the power of what he was doing, and decided to take it somewhere productive.  Not only did he put a philanthropic purpose behind it (offered to buy 10,000 mosquito nets for a charity) but also he realised the change in communication that the internet and sites like Twitter can have, because one person (ie Ashton himself) can have as much of a voice as a whole media network, CNN.


It went very huge very quickly, and then Oprah asked to interview Ashton, and she joined Twitter, and of course now it's just exploding all over the place.


This draws me to the purpose of this particular blog post.  With the whole Ashton/CNN/Oprah thing, there has been a lot of talk on Twitter over the past 48 hours about how Twitter now sucks and people are leaving because Oprah is on it, and some loser posted a blog about how yesterday was "the day that Twitter died" and so on.

I couldn't believe it, and to be honest, I still can't.  I can't get over how some people are so pretentious they would actually stop using a site/service because it has gone "mainstream".  I can't get over how people actually think that Twitter is going to hell in a handbasket just because the popular media is interested in it, and a lot more people are joining it.

Admittedly, because of the massive influx of new users, there have been some technical hitches with Twitter, mostly time lags in the posts or "tweets" showing up, and a few times it has been over capacity and stuff, but mostly it's holding up alright.

I do think that the extra activity on Twitter is only going to work in all users favour technologically speaking, because it gives the folks behind Twitter the clout (and finances) to upgrade their service.  The more that use it, the more successful the service is and the better they can offer.

It amazes me that there are people who leave a service claiming it has been "overrun with sheep", yet their behaviour is just as sheep like as anyone else's.  They're the ones who will only be involved if something isn't mainstream.  They're the ones making an exodus when something changes.

I guess these are the same people who announce that they only listen to "alternative" music.  Alternative to what?  Oh I get you, you only listen to music that isn't popular.  Music that is "cool".  Right.  And who decides that it meets the "alternative" criteria?

Look, there is no-one holding a gun to anyone's head forcing them to follow Oprah or Ashton or anyone else.  If you're not into the whole pop culture thing, if mainstream bothers you, then don't follow those people.  That's the beauty of Twitter and the internet in general.  You choose what interests you, and you spend your time using those things, reading those blogs, following those tweeters, etc.  If you want to be all edgy and alternative, then hang out with other people you consider edgy and alternative.

Don't hang shit on people who have different taste to you, because that's all it is, their taste.  Nobody should ever apologise for their taste in music, movies, television, books, internet stuff, whatever.  What you like, and what interests you is yours and nobody can tell you it's less worthy than anyone else's.  Besides, with the internet, you will ALWAYS find someone else who is interested in the same stuff as you, regardless of how obscure your taste is.


zombietron said...

Great blog. It's funny, I haven't bothered looking into the whole Ashton/Oprah thing because I'm NOT interested! It's just that easy - I haven't been exposed because I haven't clicked links that say anything about them! Yeesh. People just want something to complain about and be elitist.

TribeRingers said...

Amen and the voice of reason.

Katagal Kapers said...

Hear Hear!!