Joel Spolsky on Twitter

By Deane Barker on March 14, 2010

Puppy!: This is a larger article about why Joel Spolsky is going to stop blogging, but I really appreciated this bit at the end.

Although I appreciate that many people find Twitter to be valuable, I find it a truly awful way to exchange thoughts and ideas. It creates a mentally stunted world in which the most complicated thought you can think is one sentence long. It’s a cacophony of people shouting their thoughts into the abyss without listening to what anyone else is saying. Logging on gives you a page full of little hand grenades: impossible-to-understand, context-free sentences that take five minutes of research to unravel and which then turn out to be stupid, irrelevant, or pertaining to the television series Battlestar Galactica. I would write an essay describing why Twitter gives me a headache and makes me fear for the future of humanity, but it doesn’t deserve more than 140 characters of explanation, and I’ve already spent 820.

Generally speaking, I feel exactly the same way, and I don’t think anyone has summed Twitter up more concisely or eloquently.  This of course raises the question of why I still have a Twitter account…



  1. He has summed it up very well, but the problem is that you can sum up a lot of products and services and theoretically they won’t work.

    But twitter still works, for a huge group of people. If you break something down, you can convince yourself and others of the flaws, but if people still use it then it’s doing something right.

    I like the constraints. I like the limited space. It forces you to make your point quickly and move on.

  2. Absolutely agree with Joel. One of my new year’s resolutions was to check Twitter only once a week, but soon it became simple enough not to check it at all. I now just post a random saying every week or two, but I never read it anymore, and I couldn’t be happier without it.

  3. Agreed. I have not been able to figure out the tangable benefit of twitter. It is certainly very poor at threading a conversation (though could collate messages and remove RTs to great effect). Perhaps I should tweet the idea.

    But tweeting is effective. People can complain out load in their cubicals, mention some company’s name, and get attention from that company. It’s easier than going to that company’s web site and going through channels.

    It’s a little like writing to the newspaper’s editorial page to turn up the heat on a company with whom you have a complaint.

  4. Just like everyone else on the web we all have opinions. He doesn’t like it, fine don’t use it. But I’m guessing he’s getting some nice traffic right about now with this rant and from what I”ve seen people were linking to it via twitter. So does he block all traffic from a clicked twitter link? If no then I guess it really doesn’t matter then huh? ;-)

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, tweet @gadgetopia.