Is Twitter innovative?

On Sunday last, I was invited to follow #spymaster ( on Twitter. Given that my invite came from a respected friend, and the fact that that friend is one who pushes the boundaries of learning technology (and the further – final fact that it was Sunday and not really a work day – although ….) I succumbed. You never know unless you try!

The game – and this does not really matter for the purposes of my post – puts you in the position of a James Bond, Ilya Kuryakin sort of spy. You have to earn money by doing simple tasks, buy ‘stuff’ to make you more powerful and assassinate people. That’s about it. I saw pretty early on that it was something that, if you became committed to it, would suck the time out of your life. It is/was like everything I hate about Face Book – pointless and silly. However, for the occasional 10 minutes I played with it on the day it was a harmless pastime. The main problem with it, is the viral nature of its invitation policy – unless you’re careful everyone you’ve ever written to or heard from on your email programme will be invited. The designers have clearly set out to rule the world.

Nevertheless, my agreeing to use the game was my choice.

It was a surprise therefore to read several Twitter posts which implied that the game was ‘not an innovative use of Twitter’. Because I thought it was. Had it been the sort of thing I actually liked, or if I could have found an educational use for the game – it might have been an innovative use of Twitter. Because Twitter itself no longer innovates. Twitter for many, is just another bandwagon and it’s shine will fade (see James Clay’s excellent:Ten reasons why Twitter will eventually wither and die… – he cites this game as an example of #9 ). Others have posted that they will un-follow(!!) Twitterers that post to #followfriday. Another form of creeping death.

So what is innovation? Is it anything that doesn’t have a bandwagon following it? Surely innovation is the taking of ‘something’ and putting it to another – useful – use? Perhaps that’s the real question – what do we as individuals deem to be useful?

Needless to say, I’ve now done what I can to disable my #spymaster account. I didn’t like it, I couldn’t see how it could be adapted for educational purposes and I can’t be bothered with it – but as I said before: you never know unless you try!

Also read: Ten things people say about using Twitter, but really they shouldn’t (James Clay).