Dear Internet: Can you please stop calling Twitter & its brethren “Social Media”?

I love Twitter. And hate it at the same time.

Here are some definitions of the word “Twitter”:

  1. Talk in a light, high-pitched voice
    (- old ladies in the congregation twittered)
  2. Talk rapidly and at length in an idle or trivial way
  3. A series of short, high-pitched calls or sounds
  4. Idle or ignorant talk

Some people might think the Twitter branding was brilliant. I’ll give you this, it’s distinctive. But it’s the most asinine name they could have come up with. Sure, there’s plenty of inane shit on Twitter. But I’d try to hide that and minimize it, not encourage it! DOH!

Amazingly, CEOs and Presidents are now “tweeting”.

It cries out for being made fun of. How many more CEOs would be on twitter if it had a more professional name and demeanor?

English: A pie chart created in Excel 2007 sho...

This is an Image via Wikipedia that is completely unrelated to the content of my post.

And another thing. I’m sick and tired of the term “Social Media”. Twitter and even Facebook are communication mediums. You get news much faster on Twitter than anywhere else. They disintermediated the practice of Journalism! This is profound. While there is a social element to it, the point isn’t to “socialize”.

For me, it’s about business.

As a developer, this is what Twitter brings me. Daily links to quality content. Most of the tools I use today would probably not be in the arsenal had I not been an avid user of Twitter. Most of the technologies I build my sites on would not be part of my daily life. In fact, those technologies would have been slower to take off had there not been a medium such as Twitter.

It’s not about “twittering” away your time.

Journalism “old-style” allowed journalists to connect with important and newsworthy people. Now, with Twitter, we all have our very own communications medium if we want it. We can connect with and discover people who enrich our lives and work.

I “follow” and am being “followed” by hundreds of developers, dozens of tech journalists, and a good number of CTOs & CEOs. This is a wonderful thing. But let’s come up with a new way to describe it and not allow people to trivialize the importance of all this by letting them define what it is for us.

Let’s come up with a better “catchphrase” and start using it. How about “Internet Media”? OK that sucks but maybe someone who’s good at branding can come up with a better name.

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