Here we are in the new year, and in this spirit of "newness" I've decided to join Twitter. So I'm twittering now. Er ... I mean, tweeting.
I told a friend the other day that, when it comes to technology, I feel like an elephant slogging through quicksand while hummingbirds whiz by overhead. This assessment isn't exactly accurate since I AM on Facebook and Linkedin, and now Twitter; and since I do in fact work on a computer every day and am never far from my Blackberry. Still, my brain hasn't caught up, especially when it comes to Twitter.
For months now I've been scowling around, trying to understand the point of Twitter. I have a bead on the other two social networks with which I'm affiliated -- Linkedin and Facebook -- the former a business networking site and the latter a way to tell every friend you've ever had what you're doing and thinking and feeling every minute of the day ... with pictures. But Twitter has had me puzzled, it being the one with the length limit. That is, a tweet can only be 140 characters long including spaces and punctuation, meaning if you feel like tweeting the Gettysburg address you'd only get this far with one tweet: Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the propositio
Even with this unappealing character restriction, the idea that I hadn't signed up for Twitter was gnawing at me. I sensed I was missing something, millions of people out there yucking it up with mini-conversations of which I was not a part. So over the weekend I created an account, tweeted something about my blog, and went to bed.
In the morning I was overjoyed to see I'd attracted 32 followers overnight! In clicking on my followers link I discovered that 31 of the followers were men and women with sexy-looking photos and email address profiles so vile I won't repeat them here. With my 140-character tweet I'd managed to pull in a couple of dozen porno people. Marvelous.
On Sunday I got busy. I blocked the porno folks and started following all sorts of people: celebrities, literary agents, publishers, newscasters, authors, politicians, and a few friends and business associates. Now when I sign onto Twitter I read tweets like these:
"Love getting gift cards for books!" ... and
"Are Minka Kelly and Derek Jeter back together? ... and
"Have zero heat since December 28th" ... and
"I never get along well with touch-screen products" ... and
"Happy birthday Erin!"
You can also include links to pictures and videos and articles, just like on Facebook and Myspace and Linkedin and the rest. The only difference, really, other than some made-up rules by Naziesque software programmers about the method of befriending or how many characters you're allowed to use, is the social network's name.
I am no longer a large, trundling plant-eating mammal with a prehensile trunk being taunted by fast-winged fowl. I, too, am a hummingbird now, zipping along with understanding. Twitter, while sort of entertaining and maybe occasionally educational since I'm following news outlets, is basically this: same sh#t, different day.