Despite my better instincts I am now on Twitter.

Apparently not having learned from any of the half-dozen other social networking sites I’ve signed up for and then more or less completely ignored, I’ve gone ahead and signed up on Twitter in part because there’s a couple of other folks using Twitter I wanted to follow and the RSS feeds leave something to be desired. If my track record with LinkedIn, Facebook, GamerDNA, Last.fm, Flickr, and Friendster is anything to go by then it’s likely I’ll forget I even have a Twitter account come next week let alone actually use it for anything.

OK, I do actually check in on Facebook once a week or so. It already has a Twitter like “what the hell are you doing right now” feature on it and you’re damned lucky if I update it during that once a week visit to the site. Given that all Twitter is is that single question of what are you doing and I don’t use the one on Facebook with any regularity, well, you get my drift.

Still, if you’re interested in seeing what I can manage to say in 140 characters on the rare and random occurrences when I actually bother to remember to use it you can check it out here.

I’m still trying to figure out who the hell Dave Spathaky is and why I was automatically signed up as following him when I finished registering with Twitter.

I must be getting old. I still don’t understand what Twitter is for.

Or most of the other social websites that are out there. Twitter is wildly popular, but it seems like the sort of thing you’d use if you didn’t have a blog. Here’s what it’s for according to their about page:

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

Why? Because even basic updates are meaningful to family members, friends, or colleagues—especially when they’re timely.

  • Eating soup? Research shows that moms want to know.
  • Running late to a meeting? Your co–workers might find that useful.
  • Partying? Your friends may want to join you.

With Twitter, you can stay hyper–connected to your friends and always know what they’re doing. Or, you can stop following them any time. You can even set quiet times on Twitter so you’re not interrupted.

Twitter puts you in control and becomes a modern antidote to information overload.

As much as my mother loves me dearly, I’m not sure she’d really give a shit to know that I’m, at this very moment, eating soup. My co-workers would probably appreciate a phone call over a twitter entry and if I’m partying then my friends probably already know about it. In short it sounds like a service that promotes the sharing of trivial minutiae at a level that makes blogging look like high journalism in comparison.

The only reason I’m even thinking about it at the moment is because of this TechCrunch entry about it wherein they talk about how Twitter is suffering from major problems with high traffic loads. Whereas Twitter fans usually bitch up a storm when the service fails lately they’ve been doing something else: switching to a competitor:

But that magic is created by the simple Reply feature – when you add “@TechCrunch” to a Twitter message, it tells me you are saying something directly to me, to start a new conversation or reply to an existing one. Without Reply, Twitter turns into a one way telephone conversation. Pulling the feature out is equivalent to a frontal lobotomy – Twitter is still walking around, but there’s a blank stare in its eyes.

So why aren’t people screaming about the feature being gone? Because this time, they’re just heading over to Friendfeed to have those very same conversations. Friendfeed for most users was just a place to bookmarks all their activities on other social networks. Now, more and more, it’s a place that people start conversations. The early adopters got that a while ago. Now, the not so early adopters are using it as a Twitter replacement, too.

As an example the author links to an entry he made on FriendFeed that spawned a whole conversation. It’s a one sentence entry about how he should be blogging, but keeps looking at the ocean and thinking of playing with his dog. It has 40 some odd replies, none of which are more than a sentence or two long themselves.

It appears, to my eyes anyway, to be a form of mini-blogging and I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just use a blog to do it. I mean, I can understand why he didn’t post something like that to TechCrunch, but for me it seems like it’s redundant when I already blog about whatever trivial thing catches my attention anyway. It just makes for another site someone would have to go to or subscribe to in order to catch up on what I’m following. I already feel bad enough about the fact that I’ve been relying on Google Reader sharing to pass along items I can’t be bothered to blog about.

And what the fuck is Facebook all about anyway? According to their site:

Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.

OK, so how is that different from what Twitter says it does? You can’t see much of the service without signing up, but it looks like a less obnoxious version of MySpace and MySpace always struck me as the white trash equivalent of blogging only with even more inane content than the average blog and a design aesthetic bordering on the criminal.  Is Facebook more like LinkedIn? I do have a profile on LinkedIn because it appears aimed more at networking for possible jobs, but I’ve not done a very good job of setting up my profile yet.

As I said, maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting old, but I just don’t get the point of all these services. At least not if you already have a blog to call home. It just seems like it makes for more places people have to go to find out what you’re up to when they could just pick up the phone or drop you an email and say, “Where the hell have you been?”