We’ve been writing a lot at GigaOM lately about different aspects of Twitter’s ongoing evolution — including the way the company is trying to control more and more of its network and the content that flows through it (so that it can monetize all that attention more easily), as well as the tension between that desire for control and the company’s commitment to the principle of free speech. But we haven’t written a lot about how those changes are affecting us as users of Twitter, or what we think of where the company’s evolution is taking it, so I decided to try and put some of those thoughts into a post. And what I realized is that after more than five years on the network, I have a classic love-hate relationship with it.
It’s hard to believe sometimes that Twitter has only been around for a few years as a mainstream media phenomenon, since it has become such a central part of how many of us live our lives — and in my case, at least, how we do our jobs as well. I have a second screen with Tweetdeck open all day long so that I can follow the stream (I follow about 2,700 people), and I have spent years curating lists of important or interesting users in technology and media that I use to track those topics. Both in a personal sense and a work sense, there are hundreds of people I would never have met if it wasn’t for Twitter. It has literally changed my life.
All of that said, however, there are things I don’t like about the service — including my apparent inability to stop using it (which of course is largely my fault, not Twitter’s). And I have to confess that I am concerned about where the network is going based on some of the company’s recent behavior. So here are five things I love and five things I hate about Twitter:What do I love about Twitter? Real-time news:
Obviously, I am not going to stop using Twitter anytime soon, regardless of what I don’t like about it. There just isn’t any other network that is going to give me what I get from Twitter, without me spending hundreds of hours of time and energy spent trying to duplicate what I have built on top of the service. But at the same time, I am not happy with a lot of what is going on — or what the company’s actions seem to suggest the future might look like — and so I am watching new networks like Google+ and App.net with interest.