Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wherefor Twitter?

I'm having a pretty good time with Twitter. It's not quite addictive -- no games or anything. It is fun. I will tell you about it in bullet points because I'm feeling bullet pointy today.

  • It's a nice way to get bits of news if you follow CNN, NPR, or any number of other news sites with Twitter feeds. I'm very fond of Mental Floss.
  • I can pretend I'm talking to celebrities like @BrentSpiner @Don'ttrythis (Adam Savage from Mythbusters) or @RedHourBen (Ben Stiller). Authors I admire, like @MargaretAtwood, @Scalzi (John Scalzi) and @lilithsaintcrow are there -- I've even had conversations with Lilith, which is absolutely thrilling to me. Brent Spiner retweeted something I'd said with an answer and I grinned all day. So, cheap thrills.
  • I've gotten into conversations with various other interesting but more or less mundane souls like myself. Conversation is good.
  • I've discovered nifty little tools like Tweetdeck and NestUnclutterer to make my experience better and spammers miserable.
  • I can turn it off, walk away, and not worry about it for as long as 24 hours, but am still interested in reading things when I turn it back on.
  • I can get to it from my cell phone when I'm sitting somewhere being bored.
  • I can post pictures and links on it.
Like anything on the Internet, it has its own little code language -- RT (to retweet aka to repeat someone else's message, with or without editing for length or adding your own comment), DM (to send a private message to someone in mutual follow) and hashtag (the little # with words, used to tag comments for searches.) There are also the consessions made to fit thoughts into 140 characters, although I prefer not to chew up full words like You and Too if I can avoid it. I find it is a good place to practice consision.

It has downsides, of course -- what doesn't? Spammers are annoying. Fake celebrities can be entertaining, and certainly some celebrity tweeters are really staff members, but the big bother there is 1) upsetting the actual celebrity and 2) the crazy stupid uproar when it happens. I'm more in the "If you don't like it, stop following" camp. Seriously, it's a couple of mouse clicks to clear the annoyance from your life forever. Stop working yourself up to a dramallama moment.

Also, some days there isn't much going on. Some days are very active. What else is new?

I keep in mind that, even if I have friends (or "friends") on Twitter, I'm still mostly talking to myself. If I hear an answer from the depths, that's just an extra, a cherry, a wonderful thing.

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