I am experimenting with twitter to see if it's necessary or useful for me, as an enthusiastic gatherer of the world's knowledge.
But I don't get it. If the council were to dump one lorry-load of manure per day on my doorstep, I could see the value in occasionally taking ten minutes to go through it in search of a stray diamond. But if the council decides to re-route London's sewage system straight into my letterbox, what am I meant to do about that, other than find some sort of letter-box-shaped diamond-sieving device? (No offence to the dear friends I'm following, obviously).
All I mean is that, where an RSS reader respects the fact that most adults have to aportion their time for specific activities, and can't just lie back in some Bergsonian hippy trance letting the world wash over them, twitter appears to require me to be there more or less constantly. Obviously I'm being mean about the ratio of poo to diamonds, but either way, it doesn't take away from the fact that if someone posted something truly valuable yesterday, there is a very high chance that I won't see it. I'm tempted to just add twitter feeds to my RSS reader. Am I missing the point? Or just failing to use it properly, for instance the 'list' function?
The problem is that, if I'm right, twitter first introduces an anxiety that I'm missing out on some information, and then exacerbates it. It's like accepting invites to three parties on the same night, and then spending the majority of the evening in a taxi. Twitter takes the principle of social filtration of the web, and then dares you to delimit the filter. Why follow only 100 people? Why check it only once an hour? Eventually the filter is so big that it undermines its initial value, which is to cut the crap, so to speak.
I can see that I may be viewing it too much as a new version of blogging, rather than a new version of email. But in that case I'm merely guilty of being genuinely interested in what people say and discover, to the point where I am happy not to reply. As for the more common complaint that it's narcissistic and conducive to ADHD, well, yes, obviously. But I'm too busy googling the words 'Will Davies' while watching the news to care. I shall soldier on for the time being.