Twitter: Time-wasting Internet toy telling everyone routine?

Twitter: Time-wasting Internet toy telling everyone routine?

CHICAGO – Are you tired of the hysteria of articles claiming that Twitter is such a must-have tool for your survival on Earth?
As I have said in an earlier column in April 2009, social media networking tools like Twitter are the latest “digital bling” you think you must exhibit in order to gain survival and acceptance by those who live life by the herd mentality. Too many people are getting a Beanie Baby frenzy mentality about following others on Twitter. Many people think:

  1. I just have to have it.
  2. I have to have at least 50,000 followers to be relevant.
  3. I must be registered in order to survive the rest of my life on Earth.
  4. If you are not on it by now, you must be such a social outcast.

Did you forget about Beanie Babies already?
Those were the little plush toys that people would drive around looking for at McDonald’s because they just had to have the purple squirrel. It was worth $1,500. You can now get them at a garage sale for a couple dollars a bunch. At the time, though, a peer-pressure frenzy of “you’ve got to get one before they run out” was pervasive.

Top Twitter Tutor
Aren’t we getting a little ahead of ourselves? All these people who are offering seminars on Twitter etiquette and “Twitterology” are a big joke. It’s the digital snake-oil hype of the 21st century. Some of you are brain-dead followers.
Do you really need an “expert” to show you how to basically sign up on a list and then subscribe to others? Isn’t that about as difficult to understand as pouring yourself a glass of water or maybe the more complicated coordinated skill that requires the Olympic-level training and dexterity for lighting a match? You’d better get an Olympic-level coach.
Did I offend those social media experts who are claiming to be world-renown Twitter experts? With the tool (let alone the concept) only being around for a couple years at best, I’m surprised at so many people claiming guru status when Twitter has yet to find its full potential. Are some universities thinking of offering a doctorate in social media tools?
A friend of mine who I think has a very mature understanding of PR and the applicability of these digital networking tools was asked if he could fill in a professor on all he knew so the professor could expound on “the virtues of learning the craft”. Why didn’t they just hire him to teach the course? Is there enough substance to even fill a course?
Put a Lid on It
To those who must put their latest seminar or Webinar on LinkedIn about the “Five Steps to Become Socially Relevant” or “Social Media Training & Torture,” put a lid on it. Many are tired of reading about it and the same tired examples. If people find an application for themselves or their business, that’s great for them, but don’t claim that it cures all ills and diseases.
Air, fire, wheel, Twitter? No. I think it’s more like pet rock, Cabbage Patch doll, Beanie Baby and Twitter when it comes to must-have social survival amenities. TWITTER stands for time-wasting Internet toy telling everyone routine.
Carlinism: Fads fade fast. Learn how to distinguish between toys and tools.
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James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, and is president of Carlini & Associates. He can be reached at or 773-370-1888. Check out his blog at
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This column previously appeared in, and was reprinted with its permission.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.