The Dark Side of Twitter

Darth Vader

I have been ‘Tweeting’ for nearly a year. It has been an interesting experiment and I have blogged more than a couple of times about what I am experiencing on Twitter. I still ask myself if and how can be used by our agency and our clients as a business application (there are a few examples where I think it works).

The seemingly greatest impact is the social aspect of disseminating information in real time. Events like the shootings in Mumbai, India in 2008 and the current upheaval in Iran were and are well-chronicled in the form of real time tweets. In India it gave the world its first knowledge of the terrible carnage as it occurred and in Iran it has become a way for the world to see what is really going on inside that troubled country.

When I started on Twitter the community appeared to be primarily composed of marketers, news agents and those interested and willing to share information in the form of links and pithy sayings. Then it evolved to become an environment with many people ready to show you how to make money on Twitter – to dominate and blow everyone else out of the water. Such joy! More recently I am seeing Twitter being used to promote pornographic photos (I have some new followers like Amber who wants to share things). Twitter is pretty good about shutting down inappropriate content but the tide is rising so fast that I think the wave may inundate the Twitter universe.

Like the early days of the internet there are Twitter squatters and all kinds of misrepresentation. Just yesterday Biz Stone (Twitter’s founder) acknowledged that Twitter is attempting to come up with a 24 hour response time to protestations about misuse of Twitter names. The Real Shaq has emulators who are all fake Shaq’s. Twitter is also working on a verification system which they say should be released shortly – and none too soon.

All this and there still is no model for Twitter to monetize what it is doing. Combine that with a universe of would-be ‘Twitter marketers’ that for the most part offer nothing much at all and I can easily envision Twitter entering an impending death spiral.

Twitter can be useful and even cool. But unless things change quickly the dark side may well soon overshadow and consume its universe and force it into a black hole.

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
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1 Response to The Dark Side of Twitter

  1. Rob Barber says:


    I’ve followed JetBlue on Twitter only because I like watching them “experiment” with it. Most of what they’ve done I’ve seen no value in. However, a few months ago, I saw a tweet that said a flight leaving Long Beach for San Francisco in 5 hours still had 20 available seats and those seats would be sold for $10 on a first come/first serve basis. Approximately 1 hour later came a second tweet from JB saying the flight was sold out.

    This was the most interesting commercial use I’ve seen thus far.


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