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Is Twitter a Chat Room?



Twitter is so noisy

Anyone on Twitter has heard it all before- “Twitter is too noisy,” “Twitter is just a big pointless chat room,” “Twitter is stupid,” and “no, I won’t use Twitter, now get off my lawn.” Once fully immersed into the social microblogging network Twitter, people start sounding like that guy who used to weigh 400 pounds but lost 200 and now looks like an after picture. That guy wants everyone to join him in his fabulous weight loss quest and it comes up in every single conversation you have with him.

So what? If there was a magic pill that cured obesity, don’t you think everyone would be talking about it? If there was a magic social network that bridged all others and was growing like crazy wouldn’t it be prudent to look into it? The 2008 social media statistics were just released: Twitter grew 752% in 2008 which is the equivalent of 400lb guy losing 350lbs- it’s insane.

Still not convinced?

No? I wouldn’t be either because those are just numbers, right? I mean, who cares that Twitter has a fairly well educated, high income demographic? Who cares that it is a naturally informal place conducive to genuine connections that offers up a trust relationship at a break necked pace? Who cares that Twitter is catching up to Facebook in monthly traffic? Who cares that moms, athletes, Realtors, lawyers, CEOs, java programmers, journalists and Shaq all congregate somewhere that people let their hair down on a level playing field? Who cares that the same people calling Twitter a waste of time actually spend their time ON Twitter? Who cares that the use of Twitter leads to “tweet ups” where people take these relationships offline and often to a business relationship? Who cares that in many cases, Twitter has replaced texting and email? Who cares that 70% of users joined in 2008, and are new just like you?

Twitter is not a chat room although it has some of the same functionality. Twitter may some day evolve into something else and we understand that Twitter is just a tool or a vehicle, but the culture of open and instant communication will live on regardless of the forum. If you’re not on Twitter, it can feel like a giant chat room at first because the age of early adoption is over and many users are well established in the network and “speak” accordingly. You don’t have to use Twitter, but if you do, you’ll be the formerly 400lb guy in no time talking about the amazing connection potential.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Marvin Jensen

    January 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Twitter is noisy, but it works!

  2. Jack Leblond

    January 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Twitter can be noisy. But, like many things you get out what you put in. Noise in, noise out. Valuable conversation in, valuable conversation out.

  3. Erion Shehaj

    January 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I think Twitter can be noisy if people are not selective in whom they follow. Realtors especially, tend to follow anyone and everyone because in this way they hope to increase odds of business success. But the truth of the matter is,you have to have a true interest in getting to know that particular person that you’re following. Otherwise, Twitter becomes like Macaroni Grill on Saturday dinner time.

  4. Jason Crouch

    January 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Lani – This is a very astute look at Twitter. I sometimes feel like that guy you referenced here.

    “A friend of mine on Twitter said…”

    “I saw ________ on Twitter….”

    Nicely done!

  5. Nick Bostic

    January 26, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Yes, Twitter is a chat room. There are a lot of people in one place all talking to each other and seeing one another talk to specific people with little privacy (unless a DM is sent). Are chat rooms bad things?

    I ran a BBS ages ago, met a lot of great people, found loads of information and had a lot of fun. Then came Prodigy and Compuserve with official chat rooms and I avoided them like the plague. Chat rooms were the home of weirdo’s, and I didn’t want to be a part of that.

    Shortly after joining Twitter, I realized it too is a chat room, so when/where did my barrier drop? It was what I was in the mood for. I used to chat endlessly with people via IM, but now people have IM on all the time despite rarely being near the computer (myself included), so the value has dropped.

    I said recently I found Twitter to be too noisy. For my needs, it is now. There are great people on there that I contact from time to time, but as a full-time office worker with multiple side business ventures about to launch, I unfortunately don’t have the time to sit and watch the stream.

    Per usual, YMMV.

  6. Ken Brand

    January 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Twitter is babbling party river, sorta like the Guadeloupe River rushing through New Braunfels on July 4th. You got all kinda tubers splashing around. Some interesting, some funny, some odd, some inappropriate and some boring. It’s a spectacle and for me that’s the beauty, you never know what you’ll hear, or who you’ll meet.

    I also like it because it updates my facebook status. Although I must admit, Twitter is fairly informal, I’ve unplugged the FB status update a time or two.

    And finally, don’t drunk dial, don’t drunk text and don’t drunk twitter.


    Oh –

  7. The Harriman Team

    January 26, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I’m sure to some people Twitter might seem noisy. Sometimes it’s like the static on a old radio, the kind that grates on your ears and makes you change the channel until you find a clear one. That’s the ticket with Twitter: fine-tune it, choose who you follow wisely, pick the people who add quality signal to your stream, not static, and weed out the chaff. There will always be some noise, but it can be managed down to a dull roar so you can focus on the signals that add value.

  8. Paula Henry

    January 27, 2009 at 12:09 am

    I liken Twitter to a coffee break. When I have time, I meet my friends for a few minutes, talk about what’s going on, offer suggestions, receive some ideas – read an article or two, then coffee breaks over.

    Yeah, sometimes it’s noisy – the best coffee houses always are!


    January 27, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I look at it as a headline of whatever you wish to say. Whenever I gain a new property or sell one I write a headline on Twitter.

  10. teresa boardman

    January 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I think twitter is a kind of chat room that is why it is so cool.

  11. Lesley Lambert

    April 15, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Twitter is a chatroom that you can filter if you use your tools (ie: tweetworks or tweetdeck) and finesse the chat into real conversations. Many of my conversations have turned into actual friendships and several have become business partners of mine.

    Used properly, twitter is powerful!

  12. Mary Ann

    May 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Well, for me Twitter is a chatroom…I sometimes talk to friends in there..discuss some few things which we interest in.

    It’s kinda noisy..but I love it there.

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.



Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.



Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?


Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.



social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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