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Breaking News: Twitter Users Have No Attention Span

A new OKCupid survey finds Twitter users tend to have shorter relationships.

Um, yes. Have the researchers ever tried using Twitter? Twitter is Exhibit A for non-committal human behavior.

I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the inescapable micro-blogging site. Maybe it’s because I’m a little bit older and (I hope) wiser, but the whole follow-total-strangers-until-you-unfollow-them-five-minutes-later trend sort of creeps me out. At least with LinkedIn and Facebook there’s a barrier to entry that creates some level of commitment. You've put your fragile ego out there by sending a Facebook friend request -- will this person ignore me or "accept" me? -- so you place some degree of value on the resulting relationship. The same goes for the person on the receiving end of the request who thought "do I want this person to see my Facebook page?" and then clicked the "accept" button. As a result, most of us are more likely to "hide" someone who gets annoying instead of dropping them altogether.

With Twitter, however, there's really no reason to commit long-term on a basic level to anyone. The barrier to entry on Twitter is very low, which has the odd effect of devaluing what are already tenuous relationships. Plus, Twitter is ruining the news business. Every time a cable news anchor says "Let’s see what’s trending on Twitter" an angel loses its wings.

But back to the survey, which concludes the typical 18-year-old who uses Twitter twice a day has relationships that average eight months. Well yes, of course they do. The life of the average 18-year-old is in total upheaval, all the time. Last spring, these kids were living at home and gearing up for prom and now they’re busy breaking up with their high school sweethearts, trying to take off the Freshman 15, and looking for a summer job. The typical 18-year-old is not a beacon of stability.

To me, the interesting aspect of Twitter users' tendency toward non-committal behavior is how it could affect their future work relationships, job tenure and workplace loyalty. Will tomorrow's employees quickly "un-follow" (read: quit) employers who fail to hold their attention? Will they be able to focus on a manager's 850-character memo (gasp!) without losing interest? What is Twitter doing to our work psyche, exactly? These are very important questions with very important ramifications for employers. I’ll wait for that study instead. In the meantime, this clip is worth an encore.

Comments

  1. well i started out with ldr's, and i'm proud to say that i am very happily married.
    to add to this great blog. depending on how much you share you love with your partner, a marriage shouldn't ever be entered into immediately, and in ldr's the time you have waiting for each other make you know your partner even better, a marriage after that is like a scientist finally solving a decades' long problem. i must admit that it would have been so good for me if not for cheap international calls from mobile to mobile as i had financial problems for a significant period in my relationship.
    always keep a positive attitude, it one way i got through the hard time and don't forget to respect each others needs

    ReplyDelete
  2. International Calls from Mobile to Mobile offers cheap international calls from mobile and allow you to make call at discount and low cost price.

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