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Why Engineers Don't Like Twitter

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the signal-to-noise dept.

Communications 460

PabloSandoval48 writes, "A recent EE Times survey of 285 engineers found that 85% don't use Twitter. More than half indicated that the statement 'I don't really care what you had for breakfast' best sums up their feelings about it." Reader mattnyc99 notes a related article in which the authors analyzed the content of tweets during a recent World Cup game, finding 76% of them to be useless. "Out of 1,000 tweets with the #worldcup hashtag during the game, only 16 percent were legitimate news and 7.6 percent were deemed 'legitimate conversation' — which leaves 6 percent spam, 24 percent self-promotion, about 17 percent re-tweets, and a whopping 29 percent of useless observation (like this). Is the mainstream media making too big a deal out of the avalanche of World Cup tweets, or is the world literally flooding the zone?"

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460 comments

Breakfast? (5, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645980)

If your reason for not liking Twitter is "I don't really care what you had for breakfast," the problem isn't Twitter - it's that you need to find some more interesting friends.

Just like a telephone, its usefulness depends on who you have on the other end of the line.

Re:Breakfast? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646032)

you need to find some more interesting friends

These are engineers we're talking about. They're lucky they have friends at all.

On a more serious note, what percentage of people are "interesting" enough to have worthwhile tweets?

Re:Breakfast? (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646070)

On a more serious note, what percentage of people are "interesting" enough to have worthwhile tweets?

For that matter, what percentage of pages on the web are "interesting?"

Re:Breakfast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646034)

LOL... True... I got the link to this through Twitter ^_^

Re:Breakfast? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646120)

I'm an engineer, and my reason for avoiding Twatter is twofold:

1. SNR is way too low for me to bother with.
2. http://calnewport.com/blog/2010/06/10/is-allowing-your-child-to-study-while-on-facebook-morally-equivalent-to-drinking-while-pregnant/ [calnewport.com]

Re:Breakfast? (1, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646356)

1. SNR is way too low for me to bother with.
2. long link snipped

1. The SNR is entirely dependant on who you follow... so, if you get a lot of N, it means you're following the wrong S, which is your fault.

2. You linked to an article asking about the MORAL integrity of using one of these sites while studying? I could post an article "Is allowing someone to post on slashdot morally equivalent to assisting with suicide?". It's such a Glenn Beck move.

Re:Breakfast? (0, Redundant)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646420)

#2 is the classic loaded question, just like asking "Is it true you no longer beat your wife" and trying to force a yes or no: there's no safe answer. No matter which you pick you're sticking your foot into a significant implication, the only safe answer is to subvert the entire question by directly addressing the fallacy itself: "That's a trick question, I have NEVER beaten my wife".

Re:Breakfast? -- What about later? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646154)

Poop time!

Re:Breakfast? (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646166)

Yeah, I think the problem is that people on both sides, whether they love Twitter or hate it, are thinking that it's something more than it is. Its like a blog, but short. It's like an SMS message, but not necessarily directed at a particular person. It's like an IM status, but not tied to IM. It was a slightly interesting approach to dealing with Internet communication, but it's really not that unique or interesting. Some people use Twitter for inane information. Some people do the same thing with email. Some people post really inane blog entries. No big deal.

But somehow the media has bought into Twitter as some kind of technological marvel. "ZOMG! People are tweeting about the World Cup! Let's put those tweets on our show, so we can pretend to be technologically savvy and relevant!"'

Re:Breakfast? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646180)

no, that is the problem with twitt, everyone who participates in it seems to think that every mundane detail of their little ant life must be documented on some glorious wall

if nothing else to help them forget that they are an insignificant twitt telling the world about the eggs they had for breakfast, as if anyone cares

Re:Breakfast? (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646392)

Isn't that kind of like complaining about a penthouse suite because the people who are frequently in there are highly paid escorts?

Or to put it in a car analogy, complaining about corvette because the driver doesn't know how to drive?

You can't complain about Twitter because of the people who use it, especially when it gives you the architecture necessary to ignore what you want and listen to what you do want.

Or, even people who aren't friends (2, Informative)

weston (16146) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646294)

Twitter isn't just the status update part of Facebook. It's not a symmetric social media. You can follow someone who doesn't follow you, and vice versa. So you're not limited to your friends.

Some people use that to follow celebrities, but you can use it to follow John Resig [twitter.com] or Guido Van Rossum [twitter.com]. Or if you feel weird following geek celebrities, someone like CS professor Phil Windley [twitter.com].

Or if you still don't like Twitter, follow Linus [twitter.com], who feels the same way about Twitter that you do. ;)

Quick way of saying I don't want to be ... (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646304)

"I don't really care what you had for breakfast,.."

Is really a quick way of saying that you don't want to bombarded by trivial details, irrelevant information or even relevant information. Just give me everything all at once and edit out the crap.

I don't care how interesting someone may be, getting updates about every little thing would be annoying; regardless of how relevant it may be.

film at 11 (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646368)

water still wet
space still cold and empty
engineers don't get the point of being social.

something is news here?

Re:Breakfast? (2, Insightful)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646428)

If your reason for not liking Twitter is "I don't really care what you had for breakfast," the problem isn't Twitter - it's that you need to find some more interesting friends.

Just like a telephone, its usefulness depends on who you have on the other end of the line.

Precisely - I love twitter because I get immediate and brief headlines that can be easily followed up from various sources, including Science, Nature, NASA, the Economist, the BBC, and various other sources that are not otherwise succinctly aggregated in one place. Oh, and some hot chick who is off exploring the depths of the ocean in a big boat. This is where twitter, I think, works well.

But this does, however, beg the very important question - what do people on Slashdot listen to for their tech tweets?

So? (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645990)

The same thing can pretty much be said about the whole internet to be fair.

Re:So? (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646106)

The same thing can pretty much be said about the whole internet to be fair.

I didn't see anything about porn tweets.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646108)

Except I can find redeeming content on various parts of other websites that provide actual information. I don't with twitter, or facebook. Both can die in a blaze of their own fiery doom for all I care.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646358)

Except I can find redeeming content on various parts of other websites that provide actual information. I don't with twitter, or facebook.

Then your friends are boring. I guess I just hang out with more interesting people.

I'm serious. I see something interesting or funny on Facebook or Twitter at least a few times a day. If you don't, then that's because of the people generating the content you're reading.

Re:So? (2, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646310)

The same thing can pretty much be said about the whole internet to be fair.

Can be? More like *has* been said, and *continues* to be said. It started with personal web pages -- my first Geocities page proclaimed "I love my wife and kids!", as though that were something unique in the world. But I also had a page of cool background wallpapers that I'd found, back when that was a novel concept... and a little outfit called Yahoo! found my "Wallpaper Heaven" page and suddenly it was getting hundreds of hits a day.

Blogs, too -- 90% useless, but the remaining 10% are either essential to my job in IT, or just interesting. Fortunately, Google does a pretty good job of figuring out which ones are worth reading, just by looking at who's linking to them.

I have to agree with the other posters... if Twitter is achieving anywhere near 20% signal-to-noise, it's a resounding success. And as the search tools mature, it'll only get better. Or, to misquote Douglas Adams, it coul eventually disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

simplistic view.... (3, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#32645994)

i know the most common use is that simplistic model: someone types something like a micro-blog entry....took fluffy for a walk. but it's more useful as a glue. using modules and apis, a small business (martial arts school, for example) can update their website, facebook fans, twitter followers, and SMS recipients with info (class tonight will be no-gi).

sure, you could have coded a quick text-bounce on your own server, but twitter makes it pretty easy.

Re:simplistic view.... (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646118)

(class tonight will be no-gi).

No-gi, hmmm? You have some mighty interesting classes there...;o)

(btw, what exactly do you get a grip on, then?)

cc

Re:simplistic view.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646248)

in short, arms, wrists, necks, legs, ankles. You could always go for the oil check though.

not that i cared, but i dont think i ever rolled with a non-straight dude

My Fap Fu is better than you! (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646250)

Get a grip on yourself, CCarrot...
You're gonna loose[sic] it if you aren't careful!!

Tweeter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32645998)

I followed a tweet to this story

Twitter is useful? (4, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646002)

"Out of 1,000 tweets with the #worldcup hashtag during the game, only 16 percent were legitimate news and 7.6 percent were deemed 'legitimate conversation' -- which leaves 6 percent spam, 24 percent self-promotion, about 17 percent re-tweets, and a whopping 29 percent of useless observation

I suspect very strongly that if you were to ask 1000 random people, you'd get a very similar opinion of the content of /.

In other words, "Surprise! People are different, and some aren't interested in the things you happen to be interested in. And that doesn't make them (or you) defective."

Re:Twitter is useful? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646214)

Far more than 29% of /. posts are useless observation. This one included.

Re:Twitter is useful? (5, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646380)

Luckily, most of the useless posts on /. are quickly moderated into oblivion. On Twatter, there is nothing to protect the reader.

Re:Twitter is useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646424)

cue the recursion joke... now!

wow, which twitter is that? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646006)

the authors analyzed the content of tweets during a recent World Cup game, finding 76% of them to be useless

so, they found 24% useful comments? for what i've seen of twitter it seems like an excellent content ratio.

Re:wow, which twitter is that? (1)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646270)

The only thing I find tweets useful for is status of projects or events the rest of it is Usenet spam. Heck, Usenet has been full of excrement for decades, Twitter is just the same, you need to filter it. Though it has to be said that the mejia loves the concept and therfore it gets far too much attention. yawn.

Not the method, but the users (4, Insightful)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646028)

Most of our modern information delivery and socializing methods are actually pretty inventive and useful, until they are populated with the masses of morons that inhabit our Earth. And the one tweet the submitter linked to is a good example. It did actually have good information in it - Portugal scored a goal. But it was also filled with a bunch of personalized exclamation, which most people don't want to see.

The great thing is, you're not forced to view that person's Twitter feed. The hard part is finding one you ARE interested in.

Re:Not the method, but the users (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646066)

I only kind of agree. The users are definitivelly posting junk. But can you really post anything useful in the length limit of tweeter ?

Re:Not the method, but the users (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646158)

Your comment is 136 characters long, which is below the maximum tweet length. So either your comment is useless, or the answer is yes. Besides, a lot of tweets contain a link.

Re:Not the method, but the users (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646258)

:~$ echo "I only kind of agree. The users are definitivelly posting junk. But can you really post anything useful in the length limit of tweeter ?" | wc
137

But I'm still undecided ;)

Unscientific survey says... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646040)

..absolutely nothing you should care about.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-selection

Signal to Noise (1)

Renegade Lisp (315687) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646048)

My Twitter timeline is the most relevant information stream I have come across in all my online life. It really depends on who you are following (and what it is that you're interested in in the first place). I have never come across a tweet where somebody told what they had for breakfast (although I can think of circumstances in which I would find that information highly relevant).

Re:Signal to Noise (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646254)

> (although I can think of circumstances in which I would find that information highly relevant).

Agreed. Sometimes when people twitter about the massive crap they are taking, I think that the content of their breakfast would *definately* be relevant.

OR...OR... (1)

thelanranger (1436097) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646050)

It's because they're too short to provide any useful information. Also, it really bothers me that CNN does 1/2 of it's reporting by telling you what happened via twitter. d/c.

Social Self-outcasts (1, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646058)

If you want to go to a party, you have to accept being at a party.

Twitter is fine, if you follow people you find interesting, and if you are interesting yourself.

But if you just click on the Trending Topic links, then yes, you're going to discover that 90+% of the things people say from behind their cellphones is pointless blather. And that's the people, not the fake accounts that are using the TT to get undeserved attention. Those are half or more of any #1 topic.

Once they get how it works, engineers should love twitter. Not least because there's a finite probability that http://twitter.com/TheRealNimoy [twitter.com] will respond to you. A thing like that can make your decade.

Content versus medium (1)

LambdaWolf (1561517) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646062)

It seems a bit unfortunate that a medium can get so closely associated with the type of content that typically appears on it, and engineers in particular should probably be able to distinguish what's typical on the medium versus what it's actually capable of.

A better reason to hate Twitter is the obsolete 140-character limit. When I first heard of Twitter, I thought it was an awesome idea—and I still think so, in the context of the problem it was trying to solve—a blog you could post to over SMS. A novel and useful idea. But now with Web-capable smartphones that can and do post arbitrarily long messages to Facebook and such, the character limit just serves to dictate that all posts be short, which in most cases also makes them vapid. The form now dictates the function and that's why Twitter should annoy engineers.

Re:Content versus medium (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646320)

A better reason to hate Twitter is the obsolete 140-character limit

which in most cases also makes them vapid.

There is a large industry focused around making vapid two hour long movies.

The problem is not brevity.

like facebook et al (1)

Phantom of the Opera (1867) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646074)

Engineers tend to think deeply with full focus, which has got to be the source of their troubles, and their gifts of design.

"MultiTasking" to me is a wrenching experience, where I have to refocus my mind onto something new.
It's not a pleasant experience.

Perhaps... (4, Insightful)

tool462 (677306) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646076)

Perhaps MSM likes Twitter because it's the equivalent of 1,000 monkeys with 1,000 typewriters. There are so many people saying so many things, that they can likely find a quote that states whatever they want to state, but they then get to claim somebody else said it. Deniability is probably easier than fact checking.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646364)

Perhaps MSM likes Twitter because it's the equivalent of 1,000 monkeys with 1,000 typewriters. There are so many people saying so many things, that they can likely find a quote that states whatever they want to state, but they then get to claim somebody else said it.

I disagree. Look at the timeline for a story. Read about the shoutcast/VLC issue today on slashdot, it might hit mainstream in a week, then a day or two later someone I'm following tweets the "breaking news". Thanks dude. That's right up there with the guy who just noticed the Darth Vader is Lukes father, for those of us who don't know.

Well of course (3, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646084)

If you look at any of the content on the internet, you're going to get similar results. Even here on Slashdot, the number of posts I've seen regarding to our favourite N word goes through the roof, though we've luckily got a content rating system to keep most of them in check.

So you've got to objectively view Twitter in the same way you view any social media. For example, if a comment in slashdot is rated at -1, I'm usually not going to waste my time looking at it. Likewise, if there's hundreds of twitterers out there all tweeting, how do I know which ones to look at? Well, lucky for you, they've got their own ranking system. You can look for the people who are most followed, or you can search who you are interested in, and JUST follow them. It's surprisingly THAT easy.

I mean, how many of these engineers care for Youtube comments and 30 seconds Respond videos uploaded to youtube?

I could sit here all day and list things that engineers don't like about social sites, but that doesn't devalue the integrity of a social site.

Re:Well of course (1)

Anonymous Struct (660658) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646174)

I guess the difference for me is that I use the internet to learn more about something I need to know about. If I want to know about current events, I go to a news site. If I want updates on the World Cup, they're really easy to find. Twitter is more like waiting for the world to tell me something I didn't know I needed to know. It's like how my wife shops - go to the store and look around until you find what it is you didn't know you wanted to buy, then buy it. To each his own, but Twitter kind of annoys the hell out of me personally.

Re:Well of course (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646282)

I think the main draw of twitter is that it pulls all the information to one central place.

I can go to Slashdot for my tech news but it'll be anywhere from an hour to a couple days behind. If I really want to be up to date on things, I find the relevant feeds on Twitter, and follow them. This way I don't have to wait for some game developer to tweet something, some user to read it, that user to post a story about it, some moderator to approve it, and then it making the front page.

So if I'm interested in 5 key game developers, situational updates with Oracle, and anything coming out of Microsoft, I've got it all in one place with an easy to read UI that also forces feeds to be concise.

It beats out the regular e-newsletter because I don't have to worry about sorting it away from my regular email inbox and they can't waste my time with 3 paragraphs of nothing to get to the juicy details.

But, then again, everyone is different, YMMV, and all that jazz.

Re:Well of course (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646414)

Even here on Slashdot, the number of posts I've seen regarding to our favourite N word goes through the roof

Nokia? Netbook? Details, man!

Old people? (2, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646096)

I'd also like to know the age of these "engineers".

I'm a 25 year old engineer and I love twitter, because I like to know what my friends are doing.

Most people that don't like twitter just don't understand it, or are the kind of people that don't accept tech to begin with. Twitter really isn't supposed to be for "normal" people. At least not until techy becomes the norm, which is happening.
-taylor

Re:Old people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646400)

I'm 33 and tech saavy ... yet have no interest in Twitter, as do many of my friends. 5 years from now, Twitter use will look like pimpin' your Myspace page.

Re:Old people? (3, Funny)

kindbud (90044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646412)

I'm a 25 year old engineer and I love twitter, because I like to know what my friends are doing.

That 3rd-to-last word - not sure I know what it means. Not sure it it's important.

More noise (3, Interesting)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646112)

The last thing I need is more noise. That's why I don't use twitter. Besides, 160 characters doesn't exactly lend itself to worthwhile discourse.

Re:More noise (4, Funny)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646146)

The last thing I need is more noise. That's why I don't use twitter. Besides, 160 characters doesn't exactly lend itself to worthwhile discourse.

Haha, yet your comment is only 145 characters! Noise you say? Yeah, you have no need for that...
-Taylor

Re:More noise (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646222)

THAT was funny! And sort of dovetails into an observation I've made. Friends that say, "I just don't have time for that" and yet roll off countless hours playing WoW.

It's simple jealousy in my case (4, Funny)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646116)

Twitter is one those ideas that anyone could have thought up over a beer and implemented in a long weekend of hacking, and it could also have been done in 1995. Why didn't I get rich by doing just that? Because I'm apparently a fucking moron, who was too dumb to realize that apparently everybody else on the planet was dying for a one-to-many version of SMS with an artificial 140-character limitation.

I suspect that's why many developers dislike Twitter. It makes everyone who hears about it feel stupid and out of touch.

Re:It's simple jealousy in my case (5, Insightful)

AthleteMusicianNerd (1633805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646374)

But the value in the product is not in the tech, it's in the marketing. The fact is, without major support from other major media outlets, twitter never would have survived.

Engineers make the world go around . . . (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646130)

They don't give a shit about Lindsay Lohan SCRAM (although the technology is interesting). They don't really care who killed Michael Jackson. And they probably think that Jesse James was an outlaw from the 1800's.

But they do seem to keep everything that civilization needs running . . .

Re:Engineers make the world go around . . . (2, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646410)

And they probably think that Jesse James was an outlaw from the 1800's.

No, Jesse James used to build [wikipedia.org] stuff. [wikipedia.org] We know who he is.

Who was that woman he was married to?

Re:Engineers make the world go around . . . (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646422)

And they probably think that Jesse James was an outlaw from the 1800's.

Jesse Jane? Oh we know her. Oh, you said Jesse James. My mistake.

Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646142)

Nerds don't give a rat's ass about inane crap generated by the masses?! Go figure

as an engineer (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646160)

i feel i speak for the community when i say, I will refuse to support twitter until they
support curl on atari. i may, may consider lynx in the future.

it's like micro-blogs (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646170)

By now, we should be familiar with the issue at hand.

It happened when people started making "personal webpages". Then came blogs. Then Facebook et al. Now Twitter.

Basically, most of the world lives in the misguided assumption that at least a tiny fraction of the rest of the world is interested in them. Statistically speaking, that's not true. But we have this old tribal desire to "express ourselves", to communicate with the rest of the tribe.

There's a few billion people on the Internet today. How many of them may even theoretically care about your dog, your house, your opinion of last nights local television program, or, in fact, you? A high mark of a thousand, for most of us. 10,000 at most for everyone who's not at least a minor celebrity. Even those 10k are less than 0.0005% of the Internet population. ppm is a better measure than percent here. It's a single-digit ppm. For the majority of us, not even 1 ppm.

Or, in short, nobody(*) fucking cares. Not what the name of your dog is and not what you think about soccer.

Twitter is Geocities, only shorter, and with even less content.

(*) where "nobody" is equal, but not identical, to zero, for all practical purposes.

Spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646178)

Spam averages 78% of all e-mail sent. http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1933796,00.html

Article loaded via Twitter (1)

Mean Variance (913229) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646184)

I'm going through the stages of Twitter: it's stupid, it's funny, it's useful, it's too much information. This Slashdot page was loaded via a Twitter link. The thing is, I do get useful nuggets of information from Twitter: breaking news, tech links, sports scores. And while most of the time I don't care where you are are what you're doing, once in awhile I have hooked up with folks having a beer who posted on Twitter.

Until it gets easier to parse the feeds (sorry, lists just aren't working for me), I've had to get past that feeling that I'm missing out on something if I don't check the feed, or I go through a long history. So at this point I've learned to let missed items just go and move on with my life.

-- MV, a software engineer

Compare the same exchange with other media (1)

staeiou (839695) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646188)

An avid football fan calls their equally fanatic friend after their team scores the winning goal and yells, "GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!" The friend yells the same thing back, everyone is excited, and both they shout about how much they love their country. After no more than fifteen seconds of conversation, they both hang up.

Sure, some people might not be able to understand why these two people are so football crazy, but everyone can identify that something rich and emotional just happened. But when the exact same thing happens on twitter, it gets denounced it as 'useless observation.' Why?

I thought it was just me... (1)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646192)

I was actually starting to worry that maybe I'm not keeping up with the times by not participating in Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and the like...

What it really comes down to I think is that most engineers have moved onto much more interesting uses for computers than sending around 160 character text messages to all of our "friends" (something that we were able to do a long time ago).

That being said, I would very much like to capitalize on the market for these apps - but it's not easy to think up ideas for products that I would never personally want to use...

what does it matter? (2, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646200)

what does it matter if only 16%, or 1.6%, or even 0.16% of all posts are any good?

The power of aggregates, filters, and search engines is that it doesn't matter what the signal to noise ratio is, you can quite easily cut through it all and find more of what you want.

Its a ratio thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646204)

The more intelligent one is, the less one Twitters.

Iranian Election Unrest (1)

ApharmdB (572578) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646210)

I used to think Twitter was useless for the same reason. (I am an engineer.) But the Green Movement put it to such good use during the Iranian election unrest that it makes me willing to put up with all of the insipid news stories (effectively retweets) about what stupid people have put on Twitter.

Tweets are supposed to matter? (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646216)

No one told me tweets are supposed to matter. Since when are they supposed to be important?

I just like to tweet silly, fleeting thoughts.

Annoying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646226)

I hate the way the threads work in Slashdot stories now. I HATE it when I click on a subject heading, and having it act like a link to the post, instead of just expanding the post on the current page.

I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE it.

Seriously, I come here for the comments, and this is making it annoying to see them. It makes me not want to come back here.

Discarded RTs? (1)

egandalf (1051424) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646228)

I find it odd that the Retweets (RTs) are/were discarded with the spam in these statistics. RTs help the information spread, which is useful indeed. How many of those 1,000 actively monitor or follow any official World Cup reporting stream? Certainly not all. A RT may not be an original post, but it still can have value in the dissemination of data.

50M tweets? That is nothing. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646234)

50M tweets? That is nothing. How many phone calls do you think happened during the same period of time? How many conversations? Aren't those "social network tools" too?

I got a twitter account 2 weeks ago and quickly posted something about my belly button lint to be certain I'd fit in. Haven't bothered to go back there. Even the good posts aren't as good as RSS feeds.

I simply do not see the point of twitter. Clearly, I'm an engineer.

And only 285 engineers responded to the poll? How many were invited to the poll, 285,000? I'd say that is a more telling statistic.

Ok, see how little you cared about my writing here? Compared to most tweets that I've seen - I'm a genius and I didn't say anything useful here either.

Same reason no facebook (1)

bobjr94 (1120555) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646252)

For the most part I dont care what someone I hardly talk to is making for dinner, when they are going to take a shower or how the drive though got their order wrong.

robbIE goes full censorship full time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646288)

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"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

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no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

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"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." )one does not need to agree whois in charge to grasp the notion that there may be some assistance available to us(

boeing, boeing, gone.

Self Limiting (4, Interesting)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646302)

I like Twitter because it's an easy way for me and my developer friends to share transient tidbits like new tools, quick questions and interesting links.

I don't follow people who use it as a journal and I don't really concern myself with those who follow me.

I don't see why more IT people use it this way. It beats sending e-mail or trying to maintain contacts via multiple IM networks (some of which are blocked by various employers).

Useful (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646322)

Anybody who thinks that the World Cup (or any other sports event) has anything to do with "useful" needs to get out more. I'm not even a sports fan, and even I know that people who follow sports do so for entertainment, excitement, and camaraderie. In that context, a tweet that says "GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL #POR Portugal I LOVE MY COUNTRY, I LOVE MY TEAM ♥ OMG, OMG OMG PORTUGAAAAAAAAAL" is as "useful" as anything else that comes out of game.

If you want to assess the relevance of twittering to engineers, look at tweets that have something to do with engineering. Of which there are quite a few.

As A Young Engineer Myself... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646354)

To be productive when doing design you need long periods of uninterrupted thought. Twitter by its nature is intrusive and interruptive.

Yes

I don’t need tweets popping up with trivial interruptions like ‘Walking the dog’ or ‘Baking cookies, and I’m out of vanilla extract!’ I have actual, real work to do.

Yes.

I think what turns engineers off is how pretentious Twitter seems.

A Thousand Times Yes!

Twitter makes the implicit assumption, by its very nature, that I care about all the little details of the lives of those that I chose to subscribe to. Frankly, I don't. Twitterers assume, for fuck only knows what reason, that everyone wants to know what it is they have to say, or what it is they are doing. Well guess what, engineers don't. Engineers spend their lives solving problems. We have to look at difficult situations and come up with fixes through limited resources. We have all had our best ideas shot full of holes by colleagues. We have seen our best designs shot down in flames by managers that don't have a friggin' clue. We, the engineers, learn very early in life what the word humility means. We understand that nobody cares what we have to say, what we are doing, or what our feelings are unless those things, by whatever device, provide some kind of practical solution.

Why do engineers hate Twitter? It's simple: Twitter provides fuel to the notion that you and your thoughts/ideas/actions matter. Engineers are forged from a cynical flame that tells us ours don't. So in our opinion, neither do yours.

Yeah it's a toy. (2, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646370)

So let's see in the past week via Twitter I received notes live minutes from the Austin City Council, received crime and real estate stats for my zip code, registered my concerns about regional mobility with our Capital Metro, and notified my extended family of several cute things the kids said. That's just stuff off the top of my head.

Twitter's a really useful tool. Much like the web, if all you're getting is what someone ate for breakfast, you're doing it wrong.

At the same time, I'm completely ok with the majority engineers not "getting" social networking technologies. It makes it easier for me to find work.

Better than Average! (2, Informative)

rueger (210566) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646378)

Out of 1,000 tweets with the #worldcup hashtag during the game, only 16 percent were legitimate news

In a related story, out of 1000 books in the local book-mega-store, only 16% were worth reading, and out of 1000 TV programs only 16% were worth watching.

Frankly I would have thought that Sturgeon's Law [wikipedia.org] applied to Twitter as well.

What's this box for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32646404)

Oh no! 15% of engineers like to twit! How long before it isn't safe to cross bridges?

Twitter users pretentious? (1)

jarrodlikesmath (1795858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646416)

From TFA:

“I think what turns engineers off is how pretentious Twitter seems,”

I can't speak for everyone, but I use Twitter in a similar way I'd use an RSS reader, so most of my timeline is companies or organizations. I have some friends on there, but none of them ever seem pretentious to be on there.

However, this article sounded very pretentious. Again, TFA:

“It’s a time issue,” agrees BSEE Tim Schneider, a senior staff applications engineer. “Engineers generally don’t have a lot of it. Our work is very focused and requires a lot of brainpower to get the job done.”


disclaimer - I got to this article via a Slashdot tweet, and I am an engineer :)

Engineers' conversations are surely scintillating (1)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 3 years ago | (#32646430)

Do you demand that every interaction you have with a fellow human being convey useful new information of some kind? Much of what goes on Twitter is either conversation between friends who know each other (i.e., what someone is doing on vacation may not be interesting to you, but might be interesting to their friends and family) or a sort of shared conversation about current events. In the World Cut example, the information about the sporting event might not be "useful" in the sense of replacing sports reporting, but is the online equivalent of people sitting at a bar watching a game saying "Oh, did you see that?"

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