There Is Nothing Magic About 140 Characters

Actress Kirstie Alley has launched a new social website Phitter which provides a community in which to talk about fitness, health and diet. It’s built on a Twitter-like interface allowing “Phits” of 140 characters.

First of all, every “F” sound on the site is replaced with a “ph” which is incredibly annoying and amateurish. I’m sure it was as cute idea in some board room or living room or where ever this thing was conceived but in practice it just doesn’t fly. Second of all, I don’t know why it was built on a Twitter-like platform. Twitter is the hot technology of the moment but that doesn’t mean it’s the answer for everything. The site wants to be about community, but there are actually very few real community features on it. Twitter, in and of itself, is not a community. If they wanted more of a real community a much better choice would have been Ning, which allows you to build real community based sites easily. Ning sites can have message boards, video, audio and chat.

Another odd thing is the prominent message in the top logo that says the site is “A gift from Kirstie Alley”. Well, thank you Kirstie for your generosity.  Usually it’s classier to be more humble about such things. She didn’t exactly cure cancer or anything.

People are so infatuated with Twitter, microblogging and 140 characters but you must realize, there is nothing magical about 140 characters. It is not the path to enlightenment nor the key to the fountain of youth. It’s just another technology, good for some things, not good for others. I am hearing a little too much Twitter is everything, Twitter is all I need. Blogging and RSS are dead. Please, stop it already. Twitter is great, I love it and use it daily, but some things cannot be expressed in 140 characters. Some things deserve a longer, more thoughtful treatment. If you are not blogging as much because you’re Twittering so much, I would say you have it backward. Blogging should be the main course, Twitter the appetizer. Keep things in perspective and remember when you Twitter your Tweets go into the Twittersphere. When you blog, your posts live on your site, forever. It’s content that helps your SEO and brings perspective customers, partners and employees to you. Never forget, the sale is always made on your site, not on a social network. Your primary objective is to drive traffic to your site and blogging is the most effective way to do that. Twitter, yes, but dont’ forget to blog.

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