Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Nice to Tweet You
I joined Twitter yesterday. My handle is inconsequential. Some may see this as an acknowledgement of its potential as a social network, a tad hypocritical considering my Facebook rant of a few months ago, others might see it as the start of a long, steady spiral that ends in me drinking the dregs of discarded Four Loko cans under the Alewife Bridge. Well, you're all wrong.
I still think having an active Twitter account is probably one of the most ego-maniacal things a person can do. It reeks of self-importance and desperation, like obnoxious Youtube comments that try to direct viewers to their "funnier!" videos that are inevitably marked as spam and deleted by moderators ad nauseum. A study recently estimated that 71% of all Tweets are ignored, a number that skyrockets when you filter out celebrities and internet personalities. Frankly, I'm surprised this number isn't higher. Now before you start with the pot kettle black talk, I'd like to remark that I take great pains to avoid "spamming" people with my blog posts. I do link them to my Google Buzz, and often update my status accordingly when a new post goes up (which I will do seconds after publishing/editing/republishing this), but very rarely post them to Facebook, and never harass people into reading it. I would sooner close the shutters on this blog than bombard people with childish "look at me, look at meeee!" self-promotion. If that is what is keeping me from being a household name, so be it (and let's face it, it probably is).
What I will acknowledge however, is how great Twitter is for delivery of information. Perusing Facebook for interesting information is like trying to sip from a firehose. You will end up thirsy and soaked. Maybe Twitter is how Facebook could be if Zuckerberg could do it all over again. It lacks a lot of the intimacy (and certainly the stalking), but is far more adept at getting down to the nitty-gritty. As such, I have no intention of posting anything on Twitter. However, I am following several people I consider fascinating, and would like to be notified when they share something, as it will often be thoughtful and most importantly CONCISE. I am following Roger Ebert, Kanye West, Shaq, Astrophysicist Neil Tyson, Stephen Colbert, and others. I follow a few podcasts I like to know when they put up new episodes, I follow a few bands I like for touring/album information, I may follow others if they merit it. Twitter is an unparalleled website for aggregating things you are interested in, in some ways better than Google Reader. It's not great for the deluded looking for a soapbox, but they'll inevitably get the hint sooner or later. It's Myspace without the pedophiles and page layouts that put your browser in a tilt-a-whirl. And oh look, I already have 4 Followers. I can see how people get so caught up in this.