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Welcome to the Anti-Social.

social phone crapMy first stop in Austin last week was Casino El Camino, where I grabbed a bite with a local friend whose name I will omit to avoid any awkward moments for him.

When we first sat down to eat, he had a text message; he explained to me some dudes he knows made this service called Dodgeball and told me a little about thier offering. Cool.

Fast forward 3 hours later at the bar, he’s still putzing about with his phone, only now grumbling about “that damn dodgeball” and how it is usually dormant- except during SXSW, when it kicks into overdrive (for obvious reasons- thousands of nerds in one place, blah blah).

Anyhow, now that we are all back home, the internet is abuzz about those Twitter growth charts, with SXSW frequently popping up as the likely culprit for the explosive bloom. Well, I was there and it was certainly blowing up- litterally; I can’t recall how many times that first day I’d hear people grab their phones and exclaim “My twitter’s blowing up!”. No shit sherlock, that’s what it does.

By day two, the enthusiam was peaked; by the third day it sounded to me like most people were tired of the damn thing.

I see the appeal of these nerd toys at big events like SXSW, especially as packs of pasty folks drift from bar to bar and party to party. If I had to subject myself to them everyday though… i’d probably just pay Verizon my early termination fee and call it a day.

Twitter seems to take the obnoxious bits from the Social Web and reduce them down to their most asinine and annoying. Who needs a nice meaty piece of content, when a micro-entry will do the trick? Perhaps this is a nice addition to the ADD set’s toolbox, but I like solid, well written content. On my own terms- via a nice tabbed browser session, or in an RSS reader, at the place and time of my choosing.

Personally, i would rather read 15 year old’s You Tube Reviews, or Threadless T shirt design feedback, than the current Twitter offering of 30 year olds acting like they are 15 and thinking people care they are having a beer before bed.

Plenty of others have railed on Twitter for their own reasons. To be fair, Dodgeball should probbaly get a little more angst pointed in it’s direction, but I suppose that’s life in the shadow of a Social Web Wunderkid.

What the brains behind both of these operations fail to get, as they scramble to add my social network to my phone, is that my social network is already in my damn phone, in the address book. Hell, if you have a fancy phone, you’ve probably got your AIM list in there too. And I’m cool with it just as it is right now.

The scary part is this- now that Twitter is getting mentioned in the media, it will be a couple months before Ad Agency hacks start pulling their teams off of Second Life and start putting resources into hopping on the Twitter Train. Given their track record of not really enhancing things of marginal value in the digital space, I can’t wait to see what kind of awesome shit they come up when working with tech of extremleymarginal value- ON MY CELLPHONE.

The even scarier part is- assuming the players involved aren’t complete dunces- they have to have some ideas around enhancing these services when the iPhone ships. Thankfully it looks like Apple is going to run a tight ship when it comes to “real” apps, but I would certainly put money on a Twitter- or whatever replaces it when it’s bright SXSW colored star burns out- dashboard app thats gives me a 3rd, maybe 4th way to find out whether John Gruber had the chicken or the pasta on his flight home from Austin.

veronica said,

March 20, 2007 @ 8:20 am

I know this post is meant to be discouraging Dodgeball…but I must say after reading it I was immediately interested and after visiting their site….i really want to sign up…..I think i probably fall into the ADD set though ;)

veronica said,

March 20, 2007 @ 8:21 am

Also an interesting thought:

As a girl, I can see the appeal of this for chicks more than guys. I think that is actually neat b/c there isnt a lot of tech out there that appeals to girls very often right off the bat.

concaf said,

March 20, 2007 @ 9:23 am

I found twitter to be retardedly annoying when I had it set to send shit to my phone, not to mention the fact that I already pay ridiculous overages each month from blowing my text message limit. I did however install twitteriffic which basically shows your friends twitter messages on your desktop, which makes it way more passive and less invasive, and I actually kind of enjoy it now. Its terribly useless but so is irc, so whatever.

Keith Fletcher said,

March 20, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

It is interesting to see the many uses for twitter. I have found a site http://www.celebritytwitter.com that follows the life of hollywood celebrities online. Is this a sign that twitter is going mainstream? I have also noticed that you can’t hardly register with anything with twitter in the name. I give it 2 months before it gets bought by yahoo or google.

Mike D said,

March 21, 2007 @ 5:13 pm

My take on the inevitable commercialization of Twitter:
http://www.mdoeff.com/blog/2007/03/21/the-future-of-twitter/

mrRed said,

March 23, 2007 @ 11:42 am

goddamn, dodgeball might be the worst thing ever invented. I was signed up for a couple months and it was really hell. I’d woken up at 4:30 on a tuesday from someone letting me know that they’re at the library studying. Great, that’s really information you need to send to me in the middle of a tuesday night.

So yeah, fuck dodgeball.

cham said,

May 16, 2007 @ 3:52 am

I’ve read this post a few times now, and I don’t see any mention of you actually trying this out for yourself… I’m sure you’ve had it explained to you, but your article suggests (towards the end) that advertising agencies will be able to use it to send spam to your mobile. Twitter doesn’t work like this – you’d have to add an agency to your friends list, then turn on SMS alerts for that user in order to get their spam. So it’s not really something that you can be hoodwinked into.

Personally, I have SMS alerts off altogether, unless I’m going to be out and about and would like to know what a few of my friends are up to over the course of the evening.

And as far as enhancement to services and the iPhone, I’d be suprised if twitter geared their app towards a specific product (iPhone) as opposed to a whole format (cell phone). Also, there’s already Jaiku for that.

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