Since October 2007, [A Life Beyond Traditional Media] has been cryogenically frozen — like this writer, not dead but barely breathing. My apologies to anyone who missed it, even if you’ve given up and aren’t reading. Running a start-up in New York City has been all consuming, and this blog was a casualty. It’s with renewed commitment that I announce my … um … return, and promise to post regularly, though perhaps not frequently.
I miss the old Twitter. The Twitter without brands, celebrities, and hashtags. The Twitter where using @ before someone name was simply our way of identifying to whom we were talking while saving one of our precious 140 characters. (Yes, young'uns, Twitter stole @user from its users.) I miss the Twitter where a couple of dozen of my friends were following each other and had real conversations.
“What is Twitter?” may be the most dreaded of all social media questions. (Really, just use it and it will start to make sense.) Back in 2007, I described it as the digital equivalent of a café — sort of an IM where others are free to listen. You may be talking with two or three people, but you never know when a stranger at the “next table” will join in. Or, you may see a friend talking @ someone you don’t know, so you follow that person just to hear the other half of the conversation.
This doesn’t describe Twitter 2010, and I miss it because many of those strangers became my friends. Now, when even the most mundane tweeters have hundreds of followers, there’s less conversation and more broadcasting (or perhaps “microcasting” would be a better word).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we roll back the clock. I’m not like those Facebook users demanding the return of the “Old Facebook” (whichever version of Facebook that user considered the old one). Twitter has evolved and there is no return, but it has shown me a side of disruptive technology I’d never thought about — how it affects my normal cycle of nostalgia.