The primary draw of Twitter need not be understated: asking someone "What are you doing?" has slowly turned to something in the middle of this and shouts in the not-quite-empty night. I suppose the best way to approach this is in terms of an ideal: the belief that a seemingly arbitrary, but vital limit (of 140 characters), a generic social networking substrate, and little oversight, can lead to much much out of little. Some not-so-trivial products of this relationship include the the syntax for #topics and @people, of course, but there is also the ins and outs of the different communities involved - in particular, the way it has defied its original mission by turning something trivial into something groundbreaking. Alright - I can't particularly fathom how deep the rabbit-hole goes, but it seems promising regardless. The unusual celebrity-fan relationship, for one, cannot be denied as new and fresh and very much of the new internet age.
Twitter (Inc.)'s recent dealings with government have made one thing - if only one thing - abundantly clear: Twitter's bottom line is not goodwill between it and the community, but the survival of any community at any cost. This, in the long run, is a counterintuitive and counterproductive move. When one cannot rely on the amorphous blob that seems to govern Twitter to guard them with something approaching maternal protection, then, there is cynicism: the same one that manifested in Digg after the New Digg and MrBabyMan debacles that hav stripped the site of any of the underdog spirit it once had and has led the site to become an institution - but a lifeless one without the perception of real community (and doomed to die the slow death of MySpace, I might add). A bit of an extreme to abandon the site to after only a few incidents, I might add, but oh - how ideals themselves tarnish after so little.
Despite how realistic the position of the users are, it doesn't serve Twitter's own aspirations for community. It is also a rather depressing sight to see Twitter move to eliminate any goodwill it has accrued over the previous years (re: Iran, Arab Spring, Giggs). The tale it tells - that neither of the potent combination and face of the new internet that seems to be Facebook and Twitter stand for any ideal in general; a real pity when the one medium where light-touch regulation works - the Internet - is under attack.
The real tragedy, then, is that there is no visible competing replacement.