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Twitter ‘useless’ in the UK now

Biz has explained that Twitter no longer sends text messages to people in the UK (and beyond).

This means that there’s no longer a conversational element to Twitter while I’m away from my desk; it’s no longer any more useful to me than email / blogs.

Without the conversation, Twitter is just, um, a website, it’s no longer a communication tool for me.

Plus, (sorry but this is a fact) Twitter will just be a USA dominated thing now; there’s no room for Europeans and Australasians any more.

I shall stop promoting Twitter to my friends, and it will become ‘just another’ web thing to me.

Sad, sad day.

[Wedge]

Update July 2009

Since I wrote this post (which gained some notoriety) I have bought an iPhone, and such apps as Tweet Deck and Twiterlator have helped me keep up with all my friends and followers in a very pleasant manner.

Further, I believe that both Vodafone and now O2 in the UK send tweets via SMS again – so there’s been real progress in the last 12 months since Biz’s announcement in 2008.

[Wedge]

About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

6 thoughts on “Twitter ‘useless’ in the UK now

  • It’s a very sad day indeed. I’m going to feel so disconnected and my phone will be silent :(

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a Twitter alternative that’s out there?

  • Don’t you think you’re over-reacting a bit? From Twitter’s point of view, it’s not making business sense to carry on, so do they carry on for a few weeks of doing this and then go out of business?

    There’s nothing to stop people getting a phone with a decent 3G dataplan or wifi built-in. The N95, iPhone and many more do this.

    But why won’t many people? Cost. Exactly the same reason Twitter is cutting back, so give them a break.

  • The problem (I suspect) is that the business model is different for the mobile providers here. In the US, people pay to recieve phone calls and text messages (or at least the phone calls; I believe it’s the same with text messages) on their mobiles. Thus it’s essentially free to send out text messages to users in the US. In the UK we have a much better system where I only pay for what I send (because that protects me from abuse of the service by anyone who wants to piss me off by sending me junk until I can’t afford it) unless I subscribe to premium services which cost a fortune.

    It doesn’t really affect me because for several years now my phone has been less of an actual voice comms system, and mainly mobile email and internet, so twitter works just as well for me as it ever did (which is to say; not particularly since I need to have the app running) but it’s particularly useful just for keeping up with my states based friends and aquiantances. (Or just people who I have an interest in following such as Veronica Bellmont, or the guys from Halfpixel).

    Still, yeah. I sympathise with why they’ve had to do it, as there’s no revenue stream from that which they can leverage to cover those costs (without breaking the law or making it a pay service), but it has dropped a lot of the usefulness for many users – and thus negatively impacts how useful it is for me even if it doesn’t directly impact my experience.

  • Craig, I can see you point, and maybe it is an over-reaction in the great scheme of things, but your argument in favour of a wifi enabled phone is flawed. I have an N73 and it’s fantastic for browsing the web, but the whole point of receiving Twitters via SMS is so that you are instantly notified of an update or message.

    With mobile browsing I will have to log in on the off chance that there have been updates or messages – hardly the same as receiving them direct to my phone the instant they’re sent.

    I guess it depends on a person’s main use for Twitter. If it’s just social networking then the removal of SMS shouldn’t be a huge problem, but more and more people and organisations have been using Twitter as a direct and instant communication tool. For us, Twitter is now far less useful.

    I can understand *why* they’ve done done it – as with most things in this life it all comes down to costs, but that doesn’t mean our argument that it’s a sad day for us regular Twitter users is invalid.

    There is some hope on the horizon in the form of http://www.tweetsms.com/ – I would certainly be willing to pay a subscription for the convenience of receiving SMS updates (and it’s likely to be cheaper than the surfing costs on my phone!)

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