Robot Mistake

tweets are like opinions... everyones has one.


And why, exactly, would I need an alternative to a Google Search in 140 characters or less?


A lot of people are so fascinated with this mode of communications but for people who have been around for awhile know something similar - a telegram.


Why do we need instant feedback on lectures, especially when the material needs to be internalized first?

What happened to people going to office hours?

vikram hegde

The Indian Minister of State for External affairs Shashi Tharoor (who had earlier become famous during his unsuccessful bid to be UN Secretary General) was embroiled in a controversy in India as he referred to the economy class as cattle class in which he would travel in solidarity with the "holy cows". Following him on twitter, I thought it was a neat pun. Didn't go down well. I don't know if he would have stayed away from this controversy if he had stuck to the longer format of communication on blogger. And 140 characters isn't helping his suave image much either. In India, the soul of wit has transmigrated

Joe Torben

Stephen Fry is the wittiest man alive. Even he can't produce content worth looking at on Twitter. The idea that anyone else could is just completely incorrect. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along!


I use it as a news gathering device, especially when I'm waiting for new info on a specific topic or development.

If something I want to keep a tab on, I clean out my followings and add all the related twitter accounts on that topic, so I get all the new stuff on the topic, which you can't really do with Google.

Like at the moment all my followings are on Win 7

Twitter most certainly offer quick responses to several questions, good for the one who asks. But I'm a bit worried for those that response to those questions. It seems like they allow themselves to receive interruptions all day through. Being active on twitter demands the will to allow interruptions. I don't think that's facilitate peoples possibilities to get flow-experiences and efficiency in the work that they are actually supposed to do.

Jonathon K.

Twitter is just a fad. LIke Facebook. Like MySpace. Like LinkedIn (which everyone is on, but nobody actually uses). Like AOL IM.

Like Friendster (remember Friendster???).

It will fade and something else will take it's place.

Hal O'Brien

Archaeopteryx @ 2:

"And why, exactly, would I need an alternative to a Google Search in 140 characters or less?"

Two reasons:

* While Google's search algorithm is the best available, it isn't perfect. This is not unlike Bill Joy's observation, "Not all smart people work for you."

* Some questions aren't well tailored to search, anyway. Identifying a quote by Ricardo is (with a nod to Mr. Cowen's background). Discerning what he meant, and what others thought of it, is not.

Mr. Torben @ 6:

This is a chacun à son goût problem. If that's true for you, fine. That doesn't mean it's true for all people, or even a majority. Perhaps acknowledging there are other people in the world, who may have different taste from yours, is in order? Perhaps, if you want your own taste to be respected, you need to respect the taste of others? Hm. If only there was a larger moral principle at work here, something like,

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."

I note that would fit in 140 characters. As would most of La Rochefoucauld, if one is inclined in a secular way.



Now I'm going to have to read the damned article ( RTFA ), because I can't imagine how Twitter is an alternative to searching for a topic on Google.

There is perhaps enough traffic to ensure that any keyword I can think of is mentioned, but is there any content? That content would be 140 characters long or a link ( which may expire ) to content I would otherwise have found anyway.


Okay, example. I went to Twitter and tried searching on "okonomiyaki Seattle" and I got no hits. I got hits with "okonomiyaki" but they were not local to me and the first one I selected to check out was in a foreign language.

Searching with Google I got many answers, in English, that were helpful.

Twitter info search fail, first try.


Twitter is a fad but it's probably closer to blogging than the other social networks.

The key is that it's quicker and easier to keep up with people on Twitter than following their blogs. I find it's great for following my favourite thinkers, including Freakonomics :)

Newspapers could learn a lot from Twitter too.


Twitter is IRC in slow motion.

james mcC

if tweets are as informative, substantive, and persuasive as this opinion, then i can do without.

Dave D.

It always surprises me how much people who don't use twitter seem to hate it. It's so useful for people who use it and so easy to avoid if you don't. Why the hate?


I love how people IMMEDIATELY write off twitter. It is micro-expression accessible to the whole world. What better way to understand people than through short form?


It always surprises me how much people who don't use twitter seem to hate it. It's so useful for people who use it and so easy to avoid if you don't. Why the hate?
— Dave D.
Yes, Dave. This is exactly the shallow thinking that those of us who shun Twitter decry. When your life is driven by 140 characters the depth of thinking needed to be an adult in this complex world simply can't happen. We all have to live together and I'm getting tired of living with simpletons.


I do not like celebrities, professionals, and politicians who have a designated Twitter, Facebook, Myspace person.

Isn't first person interaction the whole reason to have those accounts versus information being filtered by a lackey?


Twitter is eminently useful for realtime information. If you can't access your Gmail account, searching with Google for "gmail down" or similar doesn't result in anything useful, because most of what it returns is a week/month/year old.

For information about something happening *now*, Twitter can't be beat.

For substantive, time-insensitive information, I prefer a regular internet search, like most of the commenters here.