I knew it was coming. I’ve been asked to Twitter.
My first encounter with someone on Twitter was at a birthday party. It was in a bar and the woman was responding to the one question Twitter poses: What are you doing? I’ve always hated this question. I admit, it’s because the answer is generally: nothing. Or: nothing worth reporting. So for me, Twitter would be a problem.
Especially since the status updates are limited to 140 characters or less. Including spaces. I love that. Who types without spaces?
I am already stressed about the multitude of decisions it will pose: do I really need this space? Is this question mark important? I would have to discipline myself. No hyphenating. Where’s the fun in that?
Another thing – what if you’re in the midst of an update and you’ve used up all your characters. Do you erase what you’ve written and start over, or edit and see if you can make it work? I’m guessing most people who are on Twitter are not stressed about the editorial content.
This woman at the bar told me she was updating her status so that the people who followed her knew what her plans were. She was drinking. Then going home. I told her if I were her stalker I’d find this news very encouraging.
“I had a stalker once,” she said seriously, “It’s not funny.”
Did I say it was funny?
With all this “connecting” there seems to be a lot of miscommunication going on.
The postings on Twitter are called “tweets” and the idea is that it’s a way to stay connected with friends, co-workers and strangers by allowing brief status updates to be read by people who are following you.
Maybe I have such a hard time with it because the idea that someone I don’t’ know and have never met would choose to follow me is hard to fathom. It presumes they are interested in what I am doing. I’m not interested in what I am doing. Why would they be?
On the other hand, this could the best social networking tool ever. It forces brevity and a concise exchange of sentences. How great would it be to Twitter with someone you’re standing directly in front of?
Recently I’ve noticed that whenever someone mentions Twitter in the UK they will invariably point out that Stephen Fry is on it. Stephen Fry is on Twitter? Well then it must be cultured.
Meanwhile, I’m sure he has no idea he has legitimised the site for the legions over 30. I can understand following him because from what I’ve heard, his updates are witty and clever. But with other less erudite celebs, the immediacy of the information doesn’t hold the same appeal.
Just because there’s the opportunity to follow every banal thought out there doesn’t mean it’s necessary. The other person who has gotten a lot of press from Twittering is President Obama.
But I doubt he’s doing the updates himself. But it would be worth joining just to get a ‘tweet” form the President while he’s sitting at the G20 Summit.
How great would it be if he answered the question, “What are you doing?” with: “Nothing.”