Bye Bye Birdie?

“Facebook, yes. Twitter, no,” he said.

My oldest son, a college student, told me today he has taken some drastic measures to manage his social media use. Like, shutting down Twitter. That’s fine, I can understand that. He did so because he didn’t see the utility of the tool, and he also found it too distracting. It isn’t that he sees no value in the micro-blog/news and info burst that is Twitter. Rather, he doesn’t care to engage in reading – or sending – tweets. He has other things to do, bigger things (like big reading lists and papers, and people, too).

I thought this was interesting, since I’ve been reading some things lately that indicate Twitter is tending to be an older person’s tool (apologies to the “older” 30s readers).  There is research that younger web users are not flocking to Twitter (pardon the pun):

8% of Internet users ages 12 to 17 use Twitter, but…73% of wired American teenagers use social networking sites (like Facebook)

Anecdotal evidence from other parents affirms what my 18 year-old son has told me: Young adults “just aren’t into Twitter.” Sure, they use Facebook, but not Twitter.

I’ve yet to really figure out the reasons for this. But I’ll admit that I’ve got a little voice inside my head that tells me they might be right here. “Maybe you’re fooling yourself about all this Twitter-mania. Maybe it isn’t ‘the next big thing’ that you hoped. Maybe you’ve been an early adopter on a losing technology/tool.”

Now, I’m not ready to give Twitter up yet. And I’m not suggesting that Twitter users don’t have other things in life, and so they waste hours a day broadcasting the littlest activities and thoughts.

I tweet a fair amount myself, although I am hardly a power user.  And I think the benefits of Twitter are here to stay, much like this writer in the New York Times.  At times I do wonder, however, if there’s going to be a positive, lasting effect to the time spent on Twitter.

Now, don’t share my self-doubts with my wife, please. She already disdains much of the web’s offerings, and I don’t need to validate any of her assumptions.

I’m not ready to say, “Bye bye, Twitter.” In fact, I’ll be tweeting a link to this post! But if you have thoughts – either way – about Twitter, I’d love to hear them.

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