Why change a winner? Do we really want Twitter to be something different?
I think I saw on Twitter somewhere the tweet that wosname from Twitter says that Twitter is not a social network. That’s the problem with Twitter – the Tweets flash passed at a rate of knots, and if you can’t remember something pretty unique in the content, it’s gone forever. But I’m sure I saw it.
I agree. It’s not a social network. Particularly if you define a social network as something that can hold all those personal details about you forevermore – and to your abiding shame in ten years time. Or perhaps a social network is something that you get for the low cost of your privacy. In both of these definitions, Facebook is a social network; Twitter is not.
(I just have to remind everybody that I left Facebook because of its attitude towards privacy – see Why I am leaving Facebook. Recently I had begun to wonder if Zuckerberg was perhaps changing. But leopards don’t change their spots. Z’s 2006 IMs are confirmed in this week’s New Yorker (hat tip to Boing Boing) as being genuine:
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don’t know why
ZUCK: they “trust me”
ZUCK: dumb fucks
FRIEND: so have you decided what you are going to do about the websites?
ZUCK: yea i’m going to fuck them
ZUCK: probably in the year)
OK, so we probably all agree that Twitter isn’t a social network in the way that Facebook is a social liability network. So, why then, are they trying to make it look like one? See the New Twitter.
The real value of Twitter is not in rich user experiences – it is in its immediacy. The immediacy of knowing what your friends are doing right now – and the immediacy of knowing what news is breaking right now. So, as a Twitter user I have to say I don’t need the New Twitter. But as a security journalist, I don’t want it. Ed Rowley, Senior Product Manager at M86 Security, sums it up perfectly:
The new Twitter panel features images for users to click through which will provide yet another way for criminals to build links to malware infected sites, hijacked or otherwise. People naturally find pictures more appealing than words and these changes will pose a potential blended threat distributed via Twitter instead of email. Technically, the facelift will certainly open Twitter up to more abuse. There is also another human perspective: for the first few months the changes will increasingly make users more susceptible to attacks as they get used to the ‘new’ Twitter – they won’t know what to expect and their guard will be down. Sadly, the combination of advertising, videos and third-party applications will, as we’ve seen on other Social Networking sites, be quickly targeted by criminal gangs as a means by which they can perpetrate their crimes. I predict that this will be exploited within weeks, if not days of its release.