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Communications The Internet

Friends Swap Twitters, and Frustration 102

WSJdpatton writes "The growth of services like Twitter and Dodgeball, which tie together instant messaging, social networking and wireless communication, elicits mixed feelings in the technology-savvy people who have been their early adopters. Fans say they are a good way to keep in touch with busy friends. But some users are starting to feel 'too' connected, as they grapple with check-in messages at odd hours, higher cellphone bills and the need to tell acquaintances to stop announcing what they're having for dinner."
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Friends Swap Twitters, and Frustration

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  • "higher cellphone bills and the need to tell acquaintances to stop announcing what they're having for dinner"

    Pass. I'll stick with myspace once a day or every cpl days. Don't need anything new.
    • Ditto that, I already delete bulletin whores. I never knew how many different quizes you could take on the internet until I got a myspace account.
    • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:14PM (#18381767) Homepage
      I know you can "only be young once, but you can be immature forever", however why do people want to be 15 year old girls for the rest of their lives?

      Being a teenager once was quite enough, thank you.

      And I'll take that pony now.

      • by Rodness ( 168429 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:05PM (#18382105)
        OMG Ponies!!!!11

        (sorry, just couldn't help it :P)
      • There's always some "L33T" dude on here that scoffs that ANYONE with ANY SENSE would EVER use myspace.

        You're just announcing your ignorance to the world.

        For better or worse, Myspace is incredibly huge. It's used by tens of millions of people every day. Teenagers? Yes. But also professionals. Adults like you and I that find a lot of value in the way it lets them keep connected with their friends and acquaintances.

        Yes, there are ignorant people on MySpace. But there's ignorant people on Slashdot. And even if
        • There's always some "L33T" dude on here that scoffs that ANYONE with ANY SENSE would EVER use myspace.

          Yeah that's just nonsense. There's no call for others to scoff at people with ANY sense using Myspace. Only for others to scoff at people with a sense of AESTHETICS using Myspace.
          • Once again, another silly over-generalization and stereotype. This is just as ridiculous as the OPs comment about myspace being only for the young or immature. It just makes no sense. Tens of millions of pages and you just lump them all together. Puh-leese.
            • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward
              Maybe you get write a poem about it, and then post a blog entry about how you hate yourself?
            • Tens of millions of pages, perhaps, but every one that I've ever seen is ugly as sin.

              A while back there was a band I was interested in, but instead of having a real web page, they just liked to their myspace profile. I gave it a good five-minute try, which is far longer than I'd normally give a poorly-designed page, and I couldn't figure out how to extract any usable information from it.

              You call it a stereotype, but I say the truth is an absolute defense. As far as I've seen, Myspace is a pit.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Iron Condor ( 964856 )

              Here's a simple test: provide us with a pointer to a couple aesthetically pleasing pages at myspace.

              I'm open to the possibility that they exist.

              Show me.

              If you can't, then the "silly over-generalization and stereotype" is just simply the plain truth.

      • IMHO it doesn't have to do with the actual means of communication, nor the age.

        The mother of a friend of mine calls him five times a day. Every day. It's driving him nuts.

        When I first started working at the univ, our private (10 users or so) mailing list had a daily limit of 300 messages or so, that was routinely reached. This changed however when the work load increased. In the mean time the list has ceased to exist.

        What I am trying to say is that this kind of behaviour in whatever form is probably spu

    • by alamandrax ( 692121 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:26PM (#18381837) Journal
      Back in my day, we called it netiquette. Damn kids. *Swipes at them with his Newton*.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak ( 669689 )
        Even if it wasn't a new service & the etiquette was still sortof working itself out.... I believe it might fall victim to the Eternal September [wikipedia.org] which plagued Usenet.
  • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:07PM (#18381673)
    Wait... you get *charged* to receive an SMS message in the USA?
    • With all the taxable profit that generates it's hard to believe the USA still has a federal debt [google.com], isn't it? We'll just have to come up with newer and more innovative ways to tax the working class.
      • Did you just draw an imaginary line between SMS messages and taxes?
        • Do they create profit for an American corporate entity?
          • And corporate profits are related to working class taxes and the deficit?
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Nirvelli ( 851945 )
              His point:

              U.S. wireless companies must make loads of profit, if they are even charging every time you RECEIVE text messages.

              The profits made all over the country by these big companies should be taxed. Since they make tons of profit, the government should be getting a whole lot of taxes from these big companies.

              If the government gets so much money from these companies, shouldn't the working class have to pay less?
              Shouldn't the deficit be going away?


              (at least, I think that is what he meant.)
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by bflong ( 107195 )
                No. You can't fight corporate greed with higher taxes. They just pass the costs right to their 'customers', and pocket even more. The only way to fight corporate greed is education of the people. Of course, that requires that the people want to learn.... which is exactly why we're all screwed.
      • by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:53PM (#18382043) Homepage
        With all the taxable profit that generates it's hard to believe the USA still has a federal debt [google.com], isn't it?

        Yes, we were all surprised to learn that taxes from SMS messages profit didn't cover the cost of running the entire federal government, plus our elective wars. Who could have guessed...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Yes all the Wireless carriers gleefully charge extra for recieving SMS messages. The level of corperate greed here on the wireless networks is unparalleled elsewhere in the world.
      • It's because it's socialist. Ditto for the US health care and education system. Introduce competition, and problems go away. There is a quirk here however; spectrum is a limited resource, and can't be scaled indefinitely.
        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
          I can see your point if we were talking about 20K MMS messages. we are talking about 20-40 BYTE messages More bandwidth is waste per second on the phone sending ack and I'm still turned on messages. It's looked at as a added revenue stream. as in... "our customers buy $22.5 million dollars worth of SMS messages on our network every quarter, if we charge for incoming, we can DOUBLE that revenue!

          Some guy named jenkins get's a pat on his back and a new corner office with windows for throwing all the custo
  • Prior art (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HomelessInLaJolla ( 1026842 ) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:09PM (#18381701) Homepage Journal
    IRC? IM? Oh wait... this is cellular telephone. Maybe they're infringing on pay-per-post IRC proposals.

    It sounds like the people interviewed in the article are all newbs:

    "I probably started removing people the first week," said Ryan Irelan, 31, a Web developer in Raleigh, N.C., who began using Twitter last year. "This constant dinging of updates," he added, "it really just became totally overwhelming. I don't see how anyone could get anything done."
    ICQ "Uh-oh!"

    Twitter now hosts more than 30,000 posts a day and has more than 50,000 users, according to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. The service is appealing because of its simplicity, said the 30-year old, who formerly worked as a software engineer at a courier-dispatch service. "You find a lot of connection in just the simplest, most mundane updates from your friends," he said.
    IRC

    Twitter doesn't charge users for the service, though he said it may charge for additional features in the future.
    Get them hooked, then charge. It's like crack.

    "I'm a little annoyed by some of these newbies," said Tara Hunt, a 33-year-old marketer in San Francisco...She removed him (Mr. Scoble) from the list of people whose posts she follows, turned off by his frequent notes about the service itself. "He Twittered about Twitter," she said.
    That'll teach her to friend people who seem "neat" at first sight.

    Eric Meyer also had to rethink his online network after experiencing what he calls a "Twitter storm." He and friends found themselves receiving 30 to 40 posts a day from one person musing about what to have for dinner and commercials spotted on television
    Definitely a newb.

    "I've blocked people that, say, signed up and just added me because we were acquaintances," he said. "I guess they liked me more than I liked them, and I didn't care to hear about them that frequently."
    That's why I like the journals on Slashdot. They don't get force-fed to anyone.

    "We get some people who get very chatty," said Dodgeball co-founder Dennis Crowley
    Tell me they didn't rely on that for the "we'll start charging you later" approach.
    • Get them hooked, then charge. It's like crack.

      That works when there's a limited supply. The problem with that is that there are so many competing services that can do the same thing with just a little work. It seems like they are all fad services, once it becomes uncool, people move to the next fad service. I'm surprised that many web sites are given venture capital money and later, bought out. Just no good way to capitalize on a service that other people give away free.
      • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HomelessInLaJolla ( 1026842 ) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:52PM (#18382037) Homepage Journal

        I'm surprised that many web sites are given venture capital money and later, bought out. Just no good way to capitalize on a service that other people give away free
        You've just touched on the social psychology behind a pyramid scheme.

        Everyone contributes, only a few profit. Lots of that venture capital came from tax money, lots more came from 401(k) investments where the people investing only knew their investments as conglomerate funds.

        Pretty sad that it's allowed to continue this way.
    • Frankly, I fail to see what the fundamental problem is. Those people just chose to communicate with people they have nothing in common with, or whose personality they don't match. The same would have happened IRL or on IRC or whatever.

      E.g., I've had a RL friend who is, sad to say, an OCPD case. His world has no shades between perfect and crap. E.g., he was proud for example of saving and reloading before _each_ _move_ in turn based strategy game, until he got the perfect result. Not because he actually need
  • by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:09PM (#18381711) Journal
    This sounds great for tweens and teens, they frequently love to be super up to date with every aspect of their friends lives, and they don't usually pay their own phone bills. For the rest of us, this may be "TMI 2.0"
  • Just icq, msn, gtalk and skype are enough to know that there can be too much connectivity.

    Actually you need to turn them off sometimes in order to feel you have some privacy in the midst of your living room.
    • Just icq, msn, gtalk and skype are enough to know that there can be too much connectivity.

      Indeed. Which is why I am not one of those campaigning for video connectivity for the Linux Skype client. The last thing I need is to provide a view of myself and my study at any time of day or night. Some things are just better left to the imagination.

      Actually, I got tired of ICQ within a couple of weeks of it coming out. Every time I needed to get anything done, I would be interrupted by that infernal "Uh Oh!". E
  • by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:11PM (#18381735) Journal
    That sounds... not hygienic.
    • I'd swap twitters in a heartbeat, if there was a more agreeable one out there somewhere. :)

      Better watch out, he probably thinks the name is a Microsoft conspiracy or something to subvert his goals of...whatever.
    • That sounds... not hygienic.
      True, but it's gotta be cleaner than squirting your Zune all over the place...

  • Chaff (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TodMinuit ( 1026042 ) <todminuit@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:12PM (#18381743)
    That is why any "push" technology sucks: You get a lot of chaff and very little wheat.
  • Raises hand (Score:5, Funny)

    by L. VeGas ( 580015 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:15PM (#18381771) Homepage Journal
    I can't even imagine using these kind of services. It would drive me bananas. I avoided getting a cell phone for years because I didn't want to be always available. I don't instant message, and I use SMS only to receive appointment reminders.

    And the fact that I have no social life or friends has absolutely nothing to do with it.
    • IRC is kinda nice to have at home. It allows for a relatively constant random stream of world consciousness and provides for ways (other than cigarette smoking) to burn that extra 5 or 10 extra minutes (or hours) while waiting for tomato sauce to cook down or glibc to compile.
    • by Threni ( 635302 )
      > I avoided getting a cell phone for years because I didn't want to be always available. I don't
      > instant message, and I use SMS only to receive appointment reminders.

      Then you realised you could turn it off; disable the ringer and use vibrate only; or use a quiet 'beep' as the ringtone; not give your phone number out to everybody; reject calls at will etc. It's not rocket science.
    • by basic0 ( 182925 )
      It seems like this feeling is most prevalent in nerdy computerish types, or "early adopters" of technology. You know, people who might not have spectacular social skills to begin with (myself included). I have an ok social life, but you know what? I like SEEING my friends, and when I see them, I like to have something to talk about. My mom talks about "catching up" with her friends. What's to "catch up" with when people blog/IM/SMS/E-Mail every time they take a rumpledumpskin?

      This college girl who lives acr
      • by Proofof. Chaos ( 1067060 ) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @06:08AM (#18384561)

        I'm always wondering WTF these people did 10 or 11 years ago when cellphones were strictly for businessmen and gadget nerds?

        They had to put up with a horrible mental disorder called thinking. You younger people may not have heard of this, but many of us were afflicted with it in the past. For those of you unfamiliar, imagine being in a waiting room with no cell phone, not even a magazine to read, and no one but strangers around you. At first you try to occupy your mind by examining the pattern on the carpet, but slowly -and no matter how hard you try, you can't help it- your mind will start to wander. You will start to have the most unnerving thoughts. It starts with things that aren't too bad like "what am I going to have for dinner," but will escalate to things like "I wonder what it would be like to go out with that girl over there," or "why did we invade Iraq." These thoughts will leave you very uncomfortable because there is no way to know the answer to them for sure. Essentially, "thinking" leads to more thinking, and just pushes you closer to insanity. And if you think you can avoid the problem by talking to the person next to you, think again. Just imagine trying to talk to someone you don't know. You have no idea how they will react to what you say (unlike your friends and family, whose responses are very predictable). I, for one, am so glad I have a cell phone to help preent the onset of insanity.
    • I can't see any value either. I just pretend I am using my cell phone and everyone thinks I have a lot of friends. I shut off the service a year ago. Planning to upgrade to a Blackberry if I can find a broken one for cheap.
  • What i would like is some kind of unified interface for communication.

    I was thinking about this while in the shower the other day.
    It would be pretty nice (probably not to privacy zealots who don't allow cookies and such) to have one account which routs all forms of communication to you.
    For example, instead of giving each person or organization that needs to send you mail your current address you just give them a meta-address and the mail gets routed to you whenever you change your physical address.
    And you c
    • Though it's a bit gargantuan to configure: a good smtpd (sendmail) and a mailing list daemon (mailman) coupled with a PBX (asterisk) and a couple of hacked scripts to retrieve web content (eg. this one [slashdot.org] for Slashdot) would do the trick nicely.
    • by focitrixilous P ( 690813 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:33PM (#18381909) Journal

      What i would like is some kind of unified interface for communication.

      I was thinking about this while in the shower the other day.
      It would be pretty nice (probably not to privacy zealots who don't allow cookies and such) to have one account which routs all forms of communication to you.
      For example, instead of giving each person or organization that needs to send you mail your current address you just give them a meta-address and the mail gets routed to you whenever you change your physical address.
      And you could have nifty features like aliases that are opaque to the sender, blacklisting, setting up certain media to trigger other media..

      That's all i can think of at the moment.
      And we will call this new technology, Electronic Mail!

      Too long. How about...

      EMAIL!

    • I was thinking about this while in the shower the other day.

      In the future, we'd all be watching you in the shower as you had this remarkable epiphany!
    • Gaim unites your IM world. Email forwarding, such as provided by the free software foundation, routes your email to whatever friendly name your ISP gave you. Or you could just give them a gmail address.

  • ..I often turn my ICQ/Skype off, and frequently have my status as "invisible". And quite a few of my friends do the same thing. So either we are sociopaths, or you need to be a special kind of 'teen' (thir-teen?) to actually like being constantly told about who's doing what useless thing (that's why people didn't like Facebook Feeds). Anyway, as far as live communication pwns everything else, all those services are doomed, just take a look at MySpace. Oh wait...
    • by maxume ( 22995 )
      It just looks like there are a lot of people using it.

      There are reasonable ways to see how much use twitter is getting:

      http://www.waxy.org/archive/2007/03/15/tracking.sh tml [waxy.org]

      There have been about 7 million messages this year; that's about 100,000 a day. So the entire thing could be explained away as ten thousand people sending about ten messages a day. That's peanuts, and it is a lot more likely that there is a big chunk of users that generate many more than ten messages a day. If summer rolls around and the
  • The future (Score:5, Funny)

    by Joebert ( 946227 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:05PM (#18382109) Homepage
    At this rate, when we're all in our 80s, our colons will be sending instant messages to our brains reminding us not to shit all over ourselves.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by maxume ( 22995 )
      Flip that, reverse it.
      • by Joebert ( 946227 )
        Sorry, forgot to mention they'll also be run by the next version of Windows, "Windows Missedya".
        The initiation by the colon is behavior by design, intended to give you the opportunity to override the sphincter & shit all over yourself if you so desire.
    • At this rate, when we're all in our 80s, our colons will be sending instant messages to our brains reminding us not to shit all over ourselves.

      Sure, it's funny now, but it is also likely to be true, or damned close. After all we've got some good research and experiments in reestablishing "communications" between muscles and the brain.

      Now, when the ED medication people catch wind of this tech, watch out. We'll be seeing Smiling Bob commercials where he "turns it on and off at will", and slashdot will have jo
      • by Joebert ( 946227 )
        I dunno about clappers.
        I could see it being given a COCK address & configurable through wi-fi though.
    • by fbjon ( 692006 )
      In the future, they will be semicolons; properly used.
  • with apologies to Fark, I'm sure:

    "WSJ Discovers Twitter, Buttocks in Dark Sans Flashlight"

    link: http://crunchgear.com/2007/03/16/wsj-discovers-twi tter-buttocks-in-dark-sans-flashlight/ [crunchgear.com]
  • by salimma ( 115327 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:36PM (#18382259) Homepage Journal
    Twitter lets you turn off phone notification completely, or just between certain hours of the day. I personally just check the updates online, or through IM.

    Also, Red Hat's Mugshot [mugshot.org] service lets you aggregate disparate social networking services and get them from a single interface. Makes it much less of a hassle to keep track of friends in various networks.
  • I only have a passing familiarity with the good old DSM-IV, but it seems we're delving into the mental health realm when someone is habitually pushing their constant doings on their friends, family, co-workers, classmates, acquaintances, enemies and casual strangers.

    Okay, they don't cover attention whoring in the DSM.

    Not to mention what kind of insecurity do you have that you don't feel any kind of connection to your friends unless you're know exactly what they're doing at every moment.

    I had a stalker like
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
      Okay, they don't cover attention whoring in the DSM... I had a stalker like that in college.

            Paranoia, however, is covered in depth.
  • I'll be back in 5 minutes. But feel free to leave a message.

    P.S. Mary, I love you. ;-D lol1!111
  • http://twitter.com/johnedwards?page=1 [twitter.com]

    Of course, it's most likely an aide, but is he the only one actively campaigning on the internet?
  • Stay Connected? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jekler ( 626699 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @10:25PM (#18382981)

    What the hell is with this social networking crap? I haven't even talked to my best friend in 3 days. I've gone months without talking to him, for no particular reason than I just didn't have anything of substance to say. People don't need to be updated on what's going on from a moment to moment basis. If my life was that fucking exciting, Discovery would make a documentary about me.

    I think this whole period of the internet will be remembered in a decade as another stupid idea up there with refreshing web page chat room/message boards, web pages embedded with ICQ contact panels and GOTO.com search boxes, and web rings. Useless chaff.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 )

      I haven't even talked to my best friend in 3 days. I've gone months without talking to him, for no particular reason than I just didn't have anything of substance to say.
      Did you become best friends with the guy by not talking to him for months at a time?

      I doubt it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jekler ( 626699 )

        I would say we became friends by not talking for long periods of time. Back when we were teenagers, we only talked on Thursday nights. That just meant we looked forward to meeting up instead of it being just another day.

        I don't think constant communication fosters strong friendships, because you have little time to reflect on the importance of your relationship with them, and so little changes in a single day that the nature of the relationship becomes shallow and trivial. As they say, absence makes th

  • in the technology-savvy people who have been their early adopters

    Am I the only one who seems to notice that carrying around a lot of expensive electronic bling is not at all a sign of someone being tech savvy? People who actually work with computers and electronics have, A) seen enough products come and go that they know that this year's status symbol is next year's copper bearing material B)have enough endless scanning of data at work to not make it their hobby in their off hours.

    Most people with actual te
  • I was interviewed by the WSJ Online tech writer Andrew LaVallee for this article. Mr. Lavellee was interested in my take on the entire MSN issue because I listed myself as an "Ex-Dodgeball Junkie" during this [metblogs.com] discussion on a local blog.

    Dodgeball doesn't work (its Friend of a Friend function hasn't worked in nearly a year and a half) and there are SO many fucking douchebags that are trying to use Dodgeball as if it is Twitter instead of using Twitter.

    I'm half glad that I wasn't quoted as the questions the w
  • Dude, I'm really not interested about your live feed to ratemypoo.com.
  • Twitter, myspace, whatever else is all fine and dandy for today's youth and young adults, but when someone has received an interview that might land them their dream job and an employer does some research on the individual that might reveal some unfitting remarks or pictures made on social networking sites, that employer just might not hire that individual based on the information they find. The employer might claim that the person is just not right for their corporate atmosphere. It might also spawn other

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