I don’t completely agree with this angle but a thread on Metafilter offers some insights into Twitter and its effect on online communities:
It’s for people who want to post innocuous, witty, generally self-promoting, usually uninformative things about themselves. … Basically, there are a whole lot of little groups that are otherwise ignored, but which add a whole lot of community and content that is *VERY* relevant to a lot of people’s individual quirks on the Internet… and Twitter tends to co-opt them.
Well, after doing a bit of basic research, I can say pretty authoritatively that when people use Twitter instead of other services, niche blogs, etc., it tends to hurt those communities’ overall online presence. It’s basically destructive to the kind of community and level of discussion that existed before, which is increasingly displaced by content that is less meaningful and less relevant to its audience. And if someone does post about such a thing, the odds are good that whatever they posted is locked to you…. and if that’s not a good definition of killing community, I don’t know what is.
To me, it’s not a model for a multibillion dollar company… it’s a problem looking for a solution.
And in the same thread – a good counterpoint:
Online communities that are falling apart because their users
are migrating to Twitter or FaceBook might need to reconsider what
their communities have to offer and why they’re failing their users.
Getting on Twitter hasn’t reduced my MeFi time at all, for instance (in
fact, I steal links from one to post on the other!). But it has reduced
the time I spent trudging through mostly-mediocre forums in my field
that weren’t quite making it, but were the only place for discussion.