Old man magazine Wired analyses Twitter’s attempts to rein in new users/please shareholders, which have mostly consisted in feature bloat and sycophantic Facebook imitating.
The beauty of Twitter was always the no-frills microblog approach; posting, following and @replying are the three basic functions of the service. Retweets and hashtags were user inventions that would be implemented later, with varying degrees of success (the service’s reworked, integrated retweet function basically nullified its 140 character limit).
Then at some point Twitter decided they knew what their users needed better than the users themselves: curating content, suggesting new people to follow, catering up newsbites that firstbreaking users had been perfectly capable of finding themselves. Wired takes that as a natural progression, because
we, people of the Internet, have come to expect that the digital world knows what we want and gives it to us.
That’s a p-r-e-t-t-y presumptuous “we”, there, Wired. In fact, isn’t it a running joke that both Google and Facebook, kings of algorithmically customer-served ads, display way-off suggestions on a regular basis? What is described above sounds more like a sales pitch from one of the above companies.
If the quote does define a general attitude to Internet usage, however, it shows precious little change from the passive consumption of TV and home movies. It paints a picture of industrially fed, insipid pleasure cattle with every ounce of initiative milked from them. Hail to thee, Facebook generation, ye to whom the Internet can be summed up in a handful of domains.
My advice to new Twitter users is to immediately get a minimalist client or app for the service, and never have to visit the bells-and-whistles web interface again, ever. Also, find your news and kitten images on your own, ie. off the social networks; they will feel much more worthwhile.