I was a reluctant tweeter.
"Do you think I'll be shunned at a tech conference if I don't have a Twitter account?" I earnestly asked a colleague in 2009.
"I hate having one to be perfectly honest," my friend answered, "but I feel like I have to."
Seven years later, Twitter still seems mandatory for journalists, activists, techies, celebrities, and political junkies. For everyone else, Twitter is decidedly inessential. Depending on your point of view, it's more important than ever—or it's flatlining.
In its early days, Twitter was a digital watercooler where media early-adopters talked shop in...