I hate relative time

As I’ve mentioned in passing before, I hate relative time on updates.

Twitter is the obvious one here. “About 8 hours ago”. “About 9 hours ago.” WTF use is that? Why not just tell me the time it happened, so I don’t have to mentally work it out?

It’s particularly useless if I want to compare the time of that Tweet to something outside Twitter.

Likewise the ABC Online News “4 hours 37 minutes ago” … jeez, just give me the publish time.

It’s doubly-annoying when presented on web pages, which may or may not get read immediately, and sometimes sit there for a while without being refreshed or updated. I come back half-an-hour later… “About 3 minutes ago”… oh really? When was that? 3 minutes before I last refreshed the page? Again, useless information.

The annoying thing is some programmer has actually jumped through hoops to display the time like this.

PLEASE, just give me the option of showing the ACTUAL time, not the relative time.

Now, does anybody know of a good Windows Twitter client that will show me actual times?

(OK, some people on Twitter reckoned Tweetdeck is one to try.)

2 thoughts on “I hate relative time

  1. Phil Weltall

    “PLEASE, just give me the option of showing the ACTUAL time”

    … according to where on the planet, exactly? The time where YOU are? The time where I am? Should they see which location (state, continent, hemisphere, etc) has the most online readers and set the time for THAT location? Then tell everyone else to move their clock forward or backward to calculate when the story was published at THEIR location?

    Will this calculator be embedded in each page, or just the index page?

  2. daniel Post author

    In the case of something like Twitter, I’d be wanting my time. In the case of news sites, the time where it was published would probably make more sense.

    I guess the best solution might be showing both, like GMail does: “12:31 PM (1 minute ago)”.

    But my point is that at least you should have the OPTION.

Comments are closed.