Sunday, September 15, 2013

EDITORIAL: Twitter Woes

Further unseen problems this week, as I came down with a sickness and have been unable to do any writing. So, I'm going to do this weeks article “on the fly”, and do a short topic. I'm also rethinking my format, maybe writing an editorial the first weekend of the month, and then covering the week in gaming for the others. Let me know what people think of that.

Let's talk about Twitter for a moment. For the life of me, I can't really figure out the purpose of this. It's kind of an odd mixture of Facebook and an RSS feed. It's largely unimportant, menial postings, people you follow so that they can talk about the minutia of their every day lives. But every once and a while, someone posts a link to something important. The ultimate result of which is that you would be stupid to use it to follow anything other than your favourite personalities.
Starting with the comparison to Facebook. Facebook is a centralized location for our friendships and relationships. A worst case scenario prevention tool that many use as a primary. If I lose contact with a friend, I can use it to keep up with them or get back in contact with them. This results in some negative feelings, I feel bad about refusing to add certain people, I feel like I can't make some of the comments I want because of who is on my friends list, and deleting people is a sign of actively wanting to avoid people.
Twitter kind of breaks away from this. There are no hard feelings about following people or not following people. If people don't want to see what you have to say, they can stop at any time, and still maintain an outside friendship with them. This can be positive or negative, as most people largely take this as an opportunity to be obnoxious. It's easy to stop following people who are, but hard to keep them from following you.
Then you have the ability to use Twitter to keep in touch with a variety of sources all in one location, similar to an RSS feed. An RSS feed is used to keep you informed of when your favorite websites update their page. If website A posts a new video, or website B a new article, you can click on its link from right there. It keeps you from repeatedly having to check a multitude of sites on a regular basis...a time saving tool.
You do this in Twitter by following those sites as well. They will usually make most of their postings to both the RSS feed and their Twitter account. The big difference is that an RSS feed is all business, while with a twitter feed, they will usually spice it up with their own personalities, post links to other things they find interesting, and make offhand comments that have nothing to do with anything.
Then you get sources that push this. BioWare at the time of Mass Effect 3 became known for using Twitter poorly when they killed off an important character on it. Emily Wong was present in Mass Effect 1 as a budding reporting relying on Shepard to provide her with information. In Mass Effect 2, she was a full fledged anchorwoman, and her news stories could be heard throughout the Citadel.
Then, in Mass Effect 3, she was notably missing. She had been replaced by Jessica Chobot, a reporter for game review website IGN. IGN is one of the largest sites for this, and has notably been accused of being paid off for its reviews. Needless to say, this didn't really help their case, but I digress. The replacement of Emily Wong by Jessica Chobot did not go unnoticed, and when people brought it up, they were forwarded to a twitter post, written as a news post in the game universe, where Emily Wong was killed during the invasion of Earth.
It was lazy, lacking insight in the game, and insulting to followers of the trilogy. Had the news story been in the game, maybe we might have been more forgiving, but doing it on Twitter was too much. They clearly did this as an opportunity to pander to a game review website, and forgot that they already had a character in place to take on the role.
This is probably the more heinous example, but Twitter is a tool that is often misused. To be honest, even after this examination, I still don't see much of a point. The only real reason I can think of to use it is because not all websites have the ability to put them on your RSS feed. Adding them to your Twitter instead means that it's basically RSS Lite.

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