Tuesday, April 5, 2011



I don't remember what compelled me to sign up for Twitter in July 2009 – maybe to follow the World Series of Poker action. But I tweeted twice that month, once more in the fall, then waited nearly a year before posting again. I followed a few people but didn't go out of my way to read the thoughts they cast out like fat worms into the twitstream.

This March I attended a social media seminar, and a tsi tsi fly of an idea wriggled its way into my consciousness and laid larvae which quickly grew into a fully-formed Twitter bug. I'm now tweeting on a regular basis – mostly to myself – and have edited the list of people I'm following to include only those whom I find entertaining or interesting, plus one guy who tweets way too much to possibly have a life away from his iPhone.

Part of Twitter's appeal is the brevity of the medium. You can say a lot in 140 characters without having to construct a full architecture of words around your thoughts. It's also the voyeuristic perspective, the ability to peek into small slices of others' thoughts. Many public figures tweet regularly, and there's never been a better way to get personal, real-time glimpses into their lives. President Obama has over seven million followers and he – or one of his flunkies – tweets almost daily. Charlie "The Publicity Machine" Sheen had over three million followers within days of opening his Twitter account. I'm not one of them.

Some of my favorites have become writer James Lileks (@Lileks), comedian Moshe Kasher (@moshekasher – not for the easily offended!), and some peeps who are simply cute and clever like @Rosie_Kaller.

What I've found irritating are people who are "fishing for follows," who've followed me for a couple of days and then dropped out when I don't follow them back. But as @SashaStrauss, who led the social media seminar I attended, said, the idea of everyone following everyone else is basically crazy and unreasonable – I'd add "if you actually want to use your Twitter account." I follow people because I want to read what they post. If anyone follows me, I hope it's for the same reason. What's the point of building up a big base of followers if none of you care what the others have to say?

Feedback is always worth-affirming, though, which is why I've linked my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Now instead of shouting into a well my tweets also go out to my friends and often lead to fun conversations. Most humans have an elemental need to communicate, which we're now doing more often by texting, email, blogging, and social networking. It's fun to take a thought, roll it up in a concise package, and throw it out like a message in a bottle to see what comes back... or just watch it wash out to sea.


~Alison~ said...

so.... what's your Twitter @?
mine's @SLPAli... I began mostly to network with other SLPs, but I have added many other people too...
it's sort of my FaceBook alter ego... LOL
ooh. maybe I'm leading a double life!?!?