According to Twbirthday.com, I've been on Twitter for 41,761 hours (and counting). When I first signed up in February, 2007, a web editor who sat near me in a busy Toronto newsroom mocked me endlessly for wasting time “tweeting” with my nerdy friends.
Fast forward almost five years and I'm watching grown men fight on national TV about their Twitter success. More specifically, on Wednesday night The X-Factor's Simon Cowell smiled ear-to-ear when the show's host declared that Cowell was the most popular judge based on a real-time Twitter survey (incidentally, @simoncowell just signed up for the service this past week, just in case you care).
Today, various social media blogs are reporting that the former king of Twitter, Ashton Kutcher ( @aplusk), publicly tweeted that his relationship with Demi Moore ( @mrskutcher) is officially over, explaining that “Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world.” This is just days after Kutcher vowed to quit Twitter (making him a “Qwitter” - no, I don't make this stuff up) after he defended Penn State's Joe Paterno in a tweet (without realizing that the coach is at the centre of the university's very public child sex-abuse scandal).
As I watch Twitter burst into the mainstream world, I have mixed emotions. There is my geek pride, proud of the early adopter tech community that helped to build the service's success before Hollywood A-listers, @RudyTheParrot, and iPad spambots came chirping. However, I look at my cluttered stream (I'm following almost five thousand people) and I wonder if 140 characters is enough to captivate millions of people for yet another five-year span.
Don't get me wrong. I recognize the value of Twitter for individuals and businesses. I wholeheartedly agree that it's a must for branding, networking, and even socializing. Oh, and let's not forget newgathering and community-building. It is just, well, full of a lot of crap sometimes. Fortunately for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed, there are services popping up left, right, and centre, to make it easier to manage the micro-blogging madness.
One such tool is called PostPost , a free web app that allows me to strip apart my Twitter timeline so I only see specific things, such as photos, videos, and links. I can also do a search relative to different types of content. For example, if I want to see all the videos that blogger Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) has posted I can pull just those shared clips, ranging from a video of Gov. Rick Perry forgetting which agency he wants to cut to a popular YouTube demo of quantum superconductors. Kind of neat.
Third-party Twitter tools are what is keeping me on Twitter, making the non-stop stream of information somewhat manageable. As someone who often describes herself as a “neophiliac,” I'm just thirsty for the next big Internet thing. Is it Google+, Chime.in, or an app like Oink? Right now, I can't say for sure, but rest I'll assured I'll be one of the first participating enduring the wrath of the naysayers who won't sign up until the Oprahs of the world log on.