Why I Love Twitter

Ben Bajarin / June 25th, 2012

I don’t expect everyone to love twitter. In fact I anticipate that many have mixed feelings about the service. Twitter is one of those things that I believe works great for some people but not everyone. And in a world of consumer choice that is perfectly fine. I would not expect a piece of technology, service, product, etc., to become universal.

I, however, particularly love the service. It works for me within the context of my career as well as how I prefer to consume information. I don’t think my appreciation of the service hit me until it went down for nearly two hours this past week. Twitter has become my source for real time information about a range of different things. I follow sports writers of my favorite teams for real time updates about games. I follow certain news outlets for updates on the news in real time. I follow a range of technology industry colleagues and journalists for real time updates on the technology landscape.

This point of real time information became clear when Twitter went down. Since Twitter is where I get all my real time information, my first instinct when I couldn’t access Twitter was to try and go to my Twitter feed to see if it was down. I eventually had to actually go visit a technology blog in order to confirm if Twitter was down. Twitter is my source for information to as close to real time as I can imagine.

Before I was a heavy Twitter user, which only happened in the last year, I used to frequent the home pages of all the big tech blogs several times a day at a minimum. This process for me was how I tried to stay up to date with the most recent pulse of the tech industry and other related news. But most technology blogs and news websites contain way more information than I am interested in and I found that I wasted quite a bit of time trying to find information that was useful to me. This is where Twitter comes in.

Twitter has become for me my curated information filter between me and the world wide web. I have carefully selected who I follow and built specific lists in order to make sure I am only presented with information from sources I trust or find the most beneficial. Twitter is acting as my aggregator for the information I have chosen is the most important for me. When I end up going to a website it is always the individual article promoted by a source I trust from Twitter. I rarely go to news sites home pages any more and I am quite pleased by this. In fact I have learned most of the major breaking news from the past six month’s via Twitter.

Of course I still use the web for a range of different things but when it comes to news, especially related to tech, Twitter is the door between me and their websites. I am sure this is true for a wide variety of folks and perhaps even readers of this article. Maybe you were referred to from a tweet or a retweet of a trusted source. Perhaps you came from another source of curated content. Either way it is more likely you got to our site and this article from another means than the homepage.

When Twitter is used this way it can be quite a useful tool for saving time. I don’t find myself needing to frequent blogs or news sites home pages in order to get caught up with what is happening in my industry. As long as I have checked Twitter in the past few hours I am completely caught up. Checking Twitter takes a matter of minutes to catch up where going to four or more blogs or news sites could take upwards of ten minutes to accomplish the same thing.

I am not sure what this means long term for the news media websites if Twitter is one of many useful aggregators to come. On this point we came across an internal research report that had caught wind of groups of Twitter users only using the service to consume useful media not to actually tweet anything. I don’t have enough data to proclaim that a trend yet but in light of my point it is an interesting development.

All of this brings up an interesting question to Twitter’s long term business model. After the outage I become convinced that I would pay a fee to use Twitter due to the value it brings to me in my daily work flow. Maybe I would pay just to keep it ad free but if it was a matter of not having it or paying to have it, I would choose to pay for it every time.

Maybe Twitter will add more value to their service for people like me and charge for premium features. Maybe they won’t and will keep the whole service free but allow ads, however, I hope this is not the route they choose.

Whatever the case of a business model, Twitter has become embedded into my work flow. I find Twitter as a valuable resource for curated information. Twitter may not be for everyone but it definitely is for me.

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio
  • crustyjusty

    I would love to see Twitter try a direct payment business model versus an advertising-supported business model. That would increase my trust that Twitter will continue to do what is best for users versus what is best for advertisers.

    • benbajarin

      I agree, and I hope so as well. I am willing to bet with that outage that many people realized how valuable Twitter was to them and may not baulk at a nominal fee. I pay for the Pandora yearly subscription for convenience and ad free but in the big picture Twitter is way more valuable to me than Pandora.

  • Rich

    Ben, what do you think is the effect on everybody of an ever-increasing speed of information transfer?

    One of the effects I see is that we may be living in a giant echo chamber.

    • benbajarin

      I think we already see the echo chamber just due to sites mostly covering the same thing. I am not sure how that will play out but I do hope that Twitter forces news sites to consider how they distribute and maintain interest going forward. The NY Times deal with Flipboard is very interesting in this regard, where they are accepting an aggregator model.

      The only thing I can do to deal with the echo chamber right now is focus more on following smart people rather than news sites twitter handle. What I find is that even if those folks tweet something about the news, more often than not, the ones I follow add a snippet of insight as well. That kind of one sentence insight is what I enjoy.

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