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5 Reasons Why I Hate Twitter

I'm going first-person in this entry because this is a personal rant that I don't want ascribed to any of my RCPU colleagues. So, there will be none of the obnoxious royal "we" I so love to use in this space. Just so you know.

Twitter, the infernal social networking site, apparently turns 5 years old this week, an age that seems to match the emotional maturity of many of its frequent users. Now, recently, Twitter and Facebook, its far more tolerable cousin, have gotten a lot of credit for enabling protesters in places like Libya to, well, protest. If folks are using Twitter to advance the will of the people in a climate of repression, then good for them and good for Twitter. More power to them. I still wish they would find some other way to do it, though.

Personally, I hate Twitter. Anybody who has ever read anything about Twitter in this newsletter knows that. Of course, I have three Twitter accounts, one for this newsletter (@leepender) and two for personal blogs I write on soccer (which I will not promote here). Those are all unwanted necessities -- no matter how much I dislike Twitter, other folks seem to like it, so I kind of have to use it in order to get people to read my stuff. Or so everybody tells me.

But let's get back to me hating Twitter. In "honor" of Twitter's 5th birthday, I offer five reasons why I hate Twitter:

  1. The whole concept of limiting Tweets to 140 characters is obnoxious. I usually don't care about what my "friends" on Facebook are doing, but I really don't care what somebody is doing if that activity can be expressed in 140 characters or fewer. While people can actually get into some relatively substantive discussions on Facebook or on blogs or message boards, Twitter is designed only to accommodate off-the-cuff comments, which usually are either poorly considered or so heavily abbreviated that they're impossible to comprehend (or both). We've already lost thoughtful debate in the Western world to the insidious and intentionally controversial sound bite; we don't need a popular Web site that not only encourages sound-bite "discussions" but actually excludes all other form of communication.

    Now, I don't follow that many people on Twitter, and some who Tweet often (analyst Ray Wang comes to mind) are actually worth following, even if I still hate the format. But most of what's on Twitter, even in my limited feed, is drivel -- and, yes, that generally includes the stuff I post, too. Oh, and if you haven't noticed, I'm long-winded, so that's another thing that drives me nuts about the character limit.

  2. There are too many weird symbols and abbreviations in Tweets. I'm not even talking about abbreviated words here, but I'll get to that in a minute. Something like "RT @leepender hates #Twitter #rant #moron" just looks like a jumble to me, but that's the way most Tweets look. Hash tags are bad enough, but now there are incomprehensible abbreviated hash tags (like #FF, which apparently means "follow Friday" -- oh, of course). The long-forgotten "at" sign made a stunning comeback about 20 years or so ago thanks to e-mail, but now it preens around all over Twitter as if it has been one of our favorite punctuation marks for generations.

    And hash, don't even get me started on you. You were just a button on a telephone before Twitter came along. Even the Associated Press requires reporters to use "No." instead of the hash sign. (As in, "TCU was ranked No. 2 in the country in football but should have been No. 1." Yup, still talking about it.) Oh, and some of the "trending" hash tags are real gems. As I'm writing this, "#100factsaboutme" and "#icantdateagirl" are "trends" on Twitter. Oh, do tell me more!

  3. Twitter and texting are killing the English language. English is a beautiful and complex language -- maybe someday even I'll learn to use it beautifully -- but our quick-hit communication culture is turning the language of Shakespeare (as the French call it) into a bunch of random symbols. I'm not concerned about kids not being able to spell or whatever; we have spell check on just about every device now. But when there's more value in knowing how to shorten words to the greatest extent possible than in knowing how to skillfully string them together, that's a bad sign for a language. And, yes, I did watch Idiocracy recently.

  4. This is more of a complaint about social media in general, but it certainly applies to Twitter: I don't want to have to get messages from 800 different places. There used to be this wonderful thing called e-mail where people could communicate in writing, and it was possible to receive and send messages in one place and through one interface. I used to hear people complain about colleagues who only used e-mail and wouldn't pick up the phone. If only we could limit ourselves to e-mail and the phone now.

    These days, people can contact me on Facebook (both on my "wall" and via Facebook's messaging client) or on Twitter (through both Tweets and private messages), among many other options. I hate that. Just e-mail me. Seriously. I hate breathless e-mails or even voice mails about whether I got someone's message on Twitter or, even worse, saw someone's Tweet. Seeing someone's Tweet sounds like something that would have been really exciting in junior high, but it's not such a thrill now. Yeah, I know, there are aggregators for all this, and I can have Twitter e-mail me when somebody sends me a Tweet or a private message. But it's just another source of communication to have to worry about. All of a sudden, preferring e-mail over anything else makes me the Luddite. It used to make me cool.

  5. Maybe this isn't such a big problem anymore, but for a while there was some question as to who was actually who on Twitter. Some enterprising or possibly trouble-making person would go register on Twitter under a celebrity's name and start posting as that celebrity. Then, the real celebrity would come along and start posting under the name "TheREAL(celebrity)." Of course, I don't follow any of those people, so it doesn't really matter that much to me. But the notion that the person I believe to be Tweeting might actually be somebody else altogether really bothers me.

Well , I've managed to go on for more than 1,000 words about this now, so for those who have actually made it this far (or just skipped past the list), I want to hear from you. What do you like about Twitter? What do you hate about it? What do you like or hate about RCPU? E-mail me at lpender@rcpmag.com or comment on this blog entry on the Web site...but please, if you re-Tweet this, don't ask me later on whether or not I saw it on Twitter.

Posted by Lee Pender on March 21, 2011 at 11:57 AM

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Reader Comments

Sun, Apr 21, 2013 Flaky

I hate twitter, cuz i don't understand how to use it & only statuses in it. No games, too difficult to find friends, twitter isn't user friendly like facebook & make me bored. Since i didn't have friends on twitter, i started to close my account & i started to use facebook. Facebook is awesome social networking for me. Many friends in it & user friendly too. I love facebook & i hate twitter

Wed, Apr 17, 2013 Ben Uk

I hate twitter and facebook because it exists because it is popular but in reality many of the users are there because they are forced to be. You use it because you have to for work, but you only have to for work because it gets the word out because its so popular. The reality is, if people who didnt like it stopped using it, it would quickly die a death. People like you keep it alive, People like you are the reason we have to put up with it.

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 Eva Oakland, CA

The name alone annoys me. If people could hear the echo of their tweets it might snap them back into life. Yes, some of you may be as alone out there in twatter land as you are in the real world. Please don't jump on the trend because of a fear of aging or becoming irrelevant. Make it make sense that you should tweet. And please go outside.

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 JKH Redmond, Oregon

What a beautifully well-written article! I also agree with what you've said here. I have always hated Twitter. I hate Facebook more, so I have to use Twitter to get any kind of word out on issues that seem important. For some reason, there is less of a Google+ option with many sites. I hate the hash tags, I hate the abbreviations, I prefer well-written and long winded blogs or articles, so I can learn something from them, even if it's just proper grammar, or how to write well. I also hate the spam/porn aspect of it, and these types of accounts following my boyfriend, but that's, admittedly, petty of me, to the average thinker.. I suppose I consider that kind of stuff disabling to the healthy mind, too.

Tue, Feb 19, 2013

i just started using twitter cause my mom doesn't let me use facebook so hate it or not i have to DEAL WITH IT!! I also hate the limit of words but thats why their called tweets. not screams.

Thu, Jan 24, 2013 TeeCee

I do not like Twitter because it is aggravating trying to talk to someone and they don't answer. It's like they are ignoring me. That's just harsh. I understand celebrities. But is it that much trouble to press one single button to follow? Erghh I am so confused with Twitters concept too. Like hash tagging and posting stuff about ur daily life. Abnoxious

Thu, Jan 24, 2013 TeeCee

I do not like Twitter because it is aggravating trying to talk to someone and they don't answer. It's like they are ignoring me. That's just harsh. I understand celebrities. But is it that much trouble to press one single button to follow? Erghh I am so confused with Twitters concept too. Like hash tagging and posting stuff about ur daily life. Abnoxious

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 anti-Myrtle Pasadena, CA

I really hate Twitter because of the annoying trending topics like RIP this and that, even though they are not really dead... Most of the hashtags things are annoying as well! I also hate it when people tweet too much, it floods my news feed or home page! OMG! sometimes I don't see the other tweets because of some users tweeting too much! The 140 characters is also bad, I wish it was higher so you could tweet longer! I love and hate Twitter at the same time... Most of the users are annoying and over-acting especially those fantards! Grr! I hate it so much! :/ People nowadays are so weird... I wish Twitter never existed! 0.o

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 anti-Myrtle Pasadena, CA

I really hate Twitter because of the annoying trending topics like RIP this and that, even though they are not really dead... Most of the hashtags things are annoying as well! I also hate it when people tweet too much, it floods my news feed or home page! OMG! sometimes I don't see the other tweets because of some users tweeting too much! The 140 characters is also bad, I wish it was higher so you could tweet longer! I love and hate Twitter at the same time... Most of the users are annoying and over-acting especially those fantards! Grr! I hate it so much! :/ People nowadays are so weird... I wish Twitter never existed! 0.o

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 Mrs Grumpy England

I have come here because today I couldn't register with a website because I don't have a facebook account. I don't want one - it's full of morons posting their boring little pictures. Twitter meanwhile is full of morons boring everyone with their mundane little lives. Does anyone really care what Celebrity A thinks or is doing? How shallow has society become? Twitter is particularly annoying - its just phone texting for the masses. At least with sms your messages were private. Now the world can see what you have to say. Why?! There is a major building project coming up in our area (8 - 10 years) of disruption. I wanted to see what our local MP had to say about it so I registered with Twitter and looked her up (Sorry I don't speak twitter) - her last few tweets all seemed to be plugging various local businesses. As in "I've just had a jolly nice cup of tea at so & so cafe". What the .....? So that conformed all my suspicions about Twitter and its users. Also can some-one explain to me why some people can apparently spend hours on there every day. What are they doing? I was bored after 5 minutes. There I feel a bit better now.

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 George UK

Thank you for the inspiration. I have just deleted my account. RIP.

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 Shell

I just deactivated my twitter account after having it for a couple of weeks.New to computers(46 years old)I was curious about what celebrities were 'saying'.I also tried to find old friends on twitter.It really all was a collossal waste of time.Most(not all)people on twitter write nothing of importance tome -or probably anyone else.I somehow still go addicted for those couple of weeks anyway,and neglected other things in my life.I even couldn't find time to brush my cats!How pathetic is that?I also had complete strangers supposedly 'following'me and had to 'block' about one a day-including one with a picture of themself naked from the waist up.(I couldn't tell if it was a female,but the parts were there.) Anyway I recommend staying away from it(twitter).Find better things to do with your life.Really. (I just noticed near the beginning of my comment that the words 'to' and 'me' are run together as 'tome'.Please forgive mistake.)

Mon, Nov 5, 2012 boobs boobs


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 Stephane

I left Twitter more than a year ago now! Will never return, eh!

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 chris usa

Create a few twitter accounts, start tweeting, then run them into widgets on a joomla site, then run the widgets out through RSS and retweet through all accounts and you will take twitter down!!!! Twitter, it seems, has no defense for feedback loops that any broadcast engineer could set up in their sleep. The whole concept is defective and easily crashed. You'll crash your provider too. Turn your hated provider against Twitter for extra fun!

Tue, Oct 30, 2012

twitter and facebook are a no holds barred cesspool of stupidity that people insist on using on a daily basis, usually when they are suppose to be working, studying or paying attention to other things. It is not only a huge time suck, but it is addicting. you become embroiled in other peoples lives, compare their to your own and subsequently feel like sht when you dont measure up. It is a wonderful place where @$$holes from your past and present come together in weird ways and you feel remorseful you ever friended them. Twitter is a whole universe unto its own. Not only do you find people who are famous tweeting vengeful underwear shots but people who copy them, self promote, steal your ideas and then publicly humiliate you when you question them. It is a place for cheaters and liars, especially people who create fake names and identities. It is a hellhole unto its own which promotes gossip and shallow narcissists. It is a place for people whose heads are stuck so far up their own @$$holes, they see nothing but the back of their own front teeth. I am a former twitter and fb addict. Been clean two years and never going back. Even had a long term twitter fake friendship with a two faced liar for over five years. I found out what kind of manipulative lying user he was, thank heavens above we never did meet. I vehemently hope that fb and twitter will someday self destruct, and there will be nothing but a memory of that stupid bluebird and dumb whale. Hallelujah, wheres the tylenol?

Thu, Sep 27, 2012

Great to read a post that articulates the aesthetic objections to many Twitter messages. Up with English, down with gibberish.

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 John

I hate Twitter. It is so meaningless and abused. When I first heard about twitter, I thought it would be a useful and ethical tool for businesses and even some famous people. But then everyone and their grandmother(literally) started to update their followers on everything they freaking do.For the last time mom, I do not care if the man at the concierge desk looked at you weird! Twitter had good potential for people to quickly and easily find out new events from their interests, and maybe even comment or share. But it was all abused. This is why I don't use Twitter or FaceBook (of which I also despise). But the worst thing that I hate the most, is how integrated and sometimes required. Everything asks for your logins, and sometimes are unuseable without. I'm actually a teenager, and i'm sick of how often FaceBook and Twitter come up at School. Everything will just become more involved and integrated from here-on out. If these networks die, a new bigger one will take its place.

Thu, Jul 19, 2012 Drew Findlay, Ohio

Twitter is THE biggest waste of time i can think of. I suppose that is due to the fact i just text msg someone if i need to say something, and the fact that i dont see the need to let everybody that would "follow" me what im doing every minute of every day. Also, all i ever see is the twitter logo everywhere i look, and i cant even begin to count the amount of "God-damnits" ive uttered after hearing of celebrity drama over twiter, on a side note, why does anyone follow celebrities any damn ways? seriously! WHY?!?!?!??? ive got enough troubles to worry about than what the hell katy perry ate for a fucking snack. if people really wanted to put their time to good use why not think of a way to fix the US economy or put our entire worthless congress out on their asses or start an organization to encourage people to do positive things like recycle? I agree that english is being eviscerated, and twitter only fuels it. the point is, this world is totally going to hell and every fucking twitter junkie is going with it, all i can ask for is that when i pass on to the next life that wherever the hell i end up i dont see any of those jackasses there.

Thu, May 3, 2012 Rob

Fuck twitter. Fuck facebook. Go outside and live.

Sat, Jan 7, 2012 Choam Nomsky

While I agree whole heartedly with the sentiments here, I feel the need to point out something. As often is the case when one goes on a negative rant, their mouth usually opens wide enough to fit a foot or two in.

In regards to the butchering of English that you mention in point 2. Those are Acronyms, not Abbreviations

Mon, Jul 25, 2011

I don't hate Twitter but don't get it either, probably because I simply don't have any interest in following what celebs are up to, even those I'm fans of. It does really annoy me how you're limited to only 140 characters though. You simply cannot convey the nuisance of what you're actually trying to say in such limited characters. I send lots of texts but insist on sending every one use full grammar, punctuation etc...

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 Tom m Austin, TX

You don't understand that Twitter was designed to work 100% over cell phone SMS, and then you rant about length limits and truncation? And your editor also doesn't get it? Really? I bet you also hate that shortwave radio isn't broadcast in 1080P 3D video with Dolby Surround.

Wed, Mar 23, 2011

The beauty of Twitter is that you don't have to post anything or follow anyone you don't want to follow. I only follow things like ESPN and Fox Sports, which come in really handy so I don't have to go to each individual website, it's all in one place.

Tue, Mar 22, 2011 Rae Botsford

Well Lee, if it makes you feel better, you have at least one person who only remembers to read what you post because of Twitter (unless my dad forwards me something he found interesting)...so please keep using it, however reluctantly. :)

Tue, Mar 22, 2011 Lee Pender Framingham, Mass.

Yes, it's true that I'm part of the problem because I have a Twitter account. That's the bitter irony of all this. The problem is that people use the stupid thing, and we need all the site traffic we can get here (who doesn't?). So, even though I took a long break from it a couple of months ago and use it as little as possible, I feel a certain sense of obligation to post on Twitter. It's becoming a necessary evil, which drives me nuts. And then some clever RCP staffer (I think I know who it was...) goes and creates those ads with the disturbingly huge picture of me and the line "Follow Lee Pender on Twitter..." Well played. Very well played.

Tue, Mar 22, 2011 DW Ohio

I have no use for Twitter, I too think it is a waste of time. I do not have a account, nor plan to get one. I do use Facebook to upload pictures of events to share with family, but I like using the phone and email. Oh yea I still use snail mail and send cards and letters to family, they love getting a pretty card with a letter in the post....I love shoping for them too. So I am not a Twit..ter.

Tue, Mar 22, 2011 Fred St. Paul

It's amazing to me how some people subject themselves to voluntary voyeurism. Facebook and Twitter are bad enough but what about 4 square?

Tue, Mar 22, 2011 db MI

I agree that is is a complete waste of time and technology. Lee, by having an account, you are actually perpetuating the problem...

Tue, Mar 22, 2011 Fellow Ludite

I agree, Twitter face Book et al are a waste of time. Most everybodies everyday activities are boring. We are all doing pretty much the same thing day in and day out so why in the world would I want to spend my time reading about your mundane activities?

Tue, Mar 22, 2011 Bryan

I don't hate Twitter .. I just find it irrelevant. I have no interest in following anyone's every word and, as noted, the comments are far too short for meaningful dialogue. Call me a Luddite ... I still think expanded conversation and discussion has value. Minimized commentary simply creates confusion and opaqueness.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 Rae Botsford US

I love Twitter. I looove Twitter. During the 2008 election, I used it to tweet heavily regarding the issues and the candidates, and to provide various links to interesting, related information. For a while I was using it to tweet new links to my blog. Now I typically use it to follow people - professors, pastors, a guy who gives a daily C. S. Lewis quote, somebody pretending to be Dr. McCoy from Star Trek, various people involved in the creation of my favorite show (which gives me lots of looks at what's going on behind the scenes while they film season 4)...Twitter is delightful. Oh, and I follow Lee Pender :) I'm @rae_bot if any non-Twitter-haters read this guy's stuff!

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 Leo

Twitter is basically a old group distribution software with a 2.0 name and tweens who think it is something cool. Instead of the software running on a local system, it's on a web server where it becomes Social software. God I hate this whole social revolution ruining true creativity and focusing on mash-ups (cut and pasting) and treating those stupid as cutting edge techies. i agree with you 100%

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 Lee Pender Waltham, Mass.

Fantastic! Twitter haters of the world, unite! To do what, exactly, I'm not sure...but I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one out there who doesn't like Twitter. Do I wish it was my idea? Not really. I'm more likely to wish I had come up with something like the deep-fried Snickers bar.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 TheCs

The limitation of characters on twitter forces people to tweet lame comments, or, simply refer them to a shortened URL that looks like some questionable site in Pakistan which contains the meaningful content. I own a small business. I can't figure out how to successfully utilize twitter to grow my business, and I've been in IT for 20 years.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011

I agree. I cancelled my Facebook account, but on Twitter, after a few tweets I just quit using it. It seemed pointless.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011

Spell checker will not correct a word that is properly spelled but incorrectly used; you need a grammar checker for that.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011

Damnit. My phone's spell checker didn't catch that one. I meant, "their".

Mon, Mar 21, 2011

I hate Twitter too... But I sure wish it was my idea. And I'll bet everyone else wishes it was there idea, including Pender. Those who disagree would either be liars or happy with the chump change the take home every two weeks.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 JV Olathe, KS

Twitter was designed to mask the inability of the younger generation to spell words longer than four letters, and properly structure complete sentences.
If you cannot spell.
If you cannot write a proper sentence.
If you cannot compose an entire paragraph…
Then Twitter is the answer. Pathetic!

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 binroe IL

I couldn't have said it better myself. Period.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 CZ Australia

I with ya Lee.. Far too much of a mushroom cloud of fluffy wasted atoms for me.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 Say it loud

I hate Twitter and I'm proud.

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