Right now, as you read this, there are five iTunes-flavored profiles over on Twitter, providing their followers with SMS-length dispatches on music, podcasts, TV shows and other content on offer in Apple’s titan digital media platform.
They are, it must be said, almost entirely pointless. For some reason this week they’ve received a fair bit of coverage from the Mac tech press, but there was (and remains) both little good to say about them and little incentive to actually follow them.
Here’s a quick rundown of the accounts (stats as they stood at time of writing) plus one random example tweet from each.
Joined March 12, 2009
“10 new trailers now live: http://www.apple.com/trailers/ #indie #comedy #drama #family #doc #action”
Joined June 18, 2009
“Grab the season four premiere of “Dexter” for free: http://tinyurl.com/ycwvnhs”
Joined September 15, 2009
“Pre-order Norah Jones’ newest album, “The Fall”, out 11/17. http://tw.itunes.com/BXB #iTunes”
Joined October 15, 2009
“See Where the Wild Things Are this weekend? Check out the first movie written by co-writer Dave Eggers,Away We Go:http://tinyurl.com/yjoocqe”
Joined October 16, 2009
“Watching Act 2 of I Kissed A Vampire. http://bit.ly/Eynfm”
These accounts serve as little more than adverts for iTunes content. But that’s what you’d expect, right? Me too, and that’s not really the problem I have with them.
The problem is that, with perhaps the exception of one, they read exactly like those trashy, URL-packed, soulless memos from users claiming to be “Media Marketing Evangelists” but whose spamtastic Tweets contribute nothing of real value to the Twitterverse. A stream of endless bit.ly’d links to content you might (but probably don’t) care about is of value to no one.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the tweets were sometimes infused with some personality. If we got to know a little about the person tweeting them, we might start to connect and, y’know, care. After all, connecting with people by discovering what they’re doing or thinking is the founding purpose of Twitter. Sure, there are no hard rules and people are free to use Twitter however they wish, but the best Twitter personalities have in common at least this one salient property: they don’t simply advertise their wares. They actually share their real lives with the Twitterverse.
The Twitter profile dedicated to Podcasts is by far the least pedestrian of the lot, and manages to occasionally sound like its author actually cares about the content, is enthusiastic about the content, and is driven to share their love of the content. But I’m being very generous here. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s consistently interesting, but then, “interesting” is such a subjective term on Twitter. After all, knowing that Bob in Wyoming is now brushing his dog, or Barbara in Essex just did a double-sneeze is hardly the stuff of journalistic excellence. But then, it’s not supposed to be, is it?
And yet, the authors of these iTunes Twitter accounts remain anonymous. The bit.ly’d ads keep on flowing. This isn’t marketing brilliance on Apple’s part. It’s turgid, mechanical, conveyer belt link-posting.
Apple is a famously tight-lipped company. Beyond its meticulously rehearsed official events and sporadic press releases, it usually has nothing to say. And with these five Twitter accounts, Apple proves it’s possible to continue saying nothing… 140 characters at a time.