Friday, June 25, 2010

Is Twitter really *that* important?

Yesterday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited the San Fransisco offices of social medial darling Twitter. You could probably rightfully ask what he went there for considering that, you know, he's the President of a whole country and stuff and Twitter is just a social networking site. That would be a really good question too and we could only assume that he visited Twitter because of some pressing issue that affects our two nations relationship or some other big, important event. You'd be wrong.

He went there to send his first Tweet.
No, I'm not kidding.
Seriously, I'm not.

That's right, the President of the Russian Federation visited Twitter to send a Tweet.

Now, before anyone starts accusing me of not understanding the value of Twitter, rest assured that I do. What I don't understand is how that value, as a business tool, translates into a visit by a world leader.

I agree that there is some real value to Twitter. I personally follow people whom I consider some of the brightest and most well thought people on the planet. But if I leave that carefully constructed circle of friends, I start to see the ugly, stupid, useless, underbelly of Twitter:

"My dad is actually totally gonna by me tampons! Yikes LMAO"
"Get off me and put the money on the table #thingsisayaftersex"
"Ima do me in da club 2nite. Might mix it up wid da playaz"

Those are the type of messages that most frequently seem to hit the service. Useless, stupid, and without any value at all. It's the nonsensical rambling of people who truly believe they are so important that the entire world wants to know when they had their last cheese sandwich or, worse still, intimate details of their last bowel movement.

Sure, there are other world leaders on Twitter. Queens Noor and Rania are both there as is President Barack Obama, and countless national politicians and leaders from all over the place. But, overall, what value is Medvedev going to get from Twitter?

This was nothing more than a PR stunt.

Does anyone really believe Medvedev is going to get addicted to Tweeting to the point of laying in bed with his Blackberry hitting 'refresh' on UberTwitter and anxiously waiting the next post from Robert Scoble or lol'ing when Chris Pirillo says he just farted? Of course not. Medvedev will probably never visit or interact with the site again. Yes, his staffers might take to the site like crazy and the entire Russian government might just be on Twitter within a year. But Medvedev won't and it's a but of a disingenuous PR stunt to pretend like he really cares about it at all.

More importantly though is the fact that a world leader who's still fighting a war against terrorist, is facing terrorism in his own country, and has countless national problems at home would even waste his time with such silliness. Sure, it's cool he sent a tweet, but it's not world changing or earth shaking the way some bloggers would have you believe.

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