Twitter haters

I love all these people who say “I don’t get Twitter” and then get all presumptuous and say “All people do is post that they’re in the car or looking at birds.”

Clearly, you do not get Twitter.

Tracey wrote a post asking people to tell her why she needs to be on Facebook or Twitter. For Facebook, I’ll just say: Twitter totally owns Facebook, and I have to make myself go to Facebook these days for anything other than playing Scrabble. But hey! Online Scrabble! So I do play Scrabble on Facebook. But I got so tired of everyone throwing sheep at me and asking me to feed their Farmtown cows and suggesting that I join their cause or become a fan of their hotel (no, really–someone suggested that I become a fan of some hotel in Dallas) or whatever that I stopped going there very much after I became obsessed with Twitter. Facebook is nice for sort of staying in touch with family and old friends and people whose names you recognize but you’re not sure where you know them from. It’s nice to see what people you’ve wondered about over the years are doing these days. And I used to like it because it was more private than my blog, so I could be more personal there, but Facebook’s new privacy policy makes it less private. But Twitter is better for news, politics, entertainment, hilarity, and conversation. And talking to all these bloggers I’ve been reading for years.

Yes, there are people who post only the “I just ate breakfast” types of updates. Unless I have a personal relationship with them, I don’t follow those people. See, you get to choose who you follow. You don’t have to read anyone’s tweets if you don’t want to.

The following is a sample of tweets currently in my tweetstream:

“Nothing good can come out of Obama, Holder, and Napolitano being in the same room… If Biden is there we’re definitely screwed.” — Informative about what’s going on in the world and also snarky.

“I know you need these shoes. Link” — These are shoes made out of bread, and I never would have known they existed if not for Twitter. (I retweeted this, and someone replied that they’re loafers. Get it?)

“By Valentine’s someone will come up with some edible Snuggie suit made of chocolate, I’m sure. Stay in. Hide.” — Funny. My main reason for being on Twitter is that there is so much funny on Twitter.

“You ever get drunk and buy something online but forget all about it until she shows up on your porch, yelling something in Russia-talk?” — Again. Funny.

“Michael Yon arrested for not revealing his income at the airport Link” — Information on how much our border security sucks.

“The tens digit changed so it’s a new decade. Get over it.” — This was a tweet by my husband which set off a squabble that turned into Twitter psychological abuse when I threatened to punch Frank in the face. Because he’s wrong about this.

“Gosh, but it’s cold! Throw another Global Warming Alarmist on the fire!” — these are the one-liners you don’t get on blogs. Very few people write blog posts that are just one-line zingers.

“BONG BONG BONG BONG” — This is a tweet by the Big Ben Clock, and it cracks me up every hour when it tweets the time in London.

Last night my tweetstream was dominated by 1) The Fiesta Bowl. I did much of the dominating here. 2) Erick Erickson’s (of RedState) appearance on the Colbert Report. 3) Brit Hume on O’Reilly. I ignored #2 and #3 because I was watching football, but I made note in my head that I would need to watch the clip of Brit Hume and DVR a later recording of the Colbert Report. I wouldn’t have known to watch either otherwise.

I follow a ton of people who only do politics or news. I follow a lot of people who only do random, funny thoughts. I follow a lot who do a number of things. Some sports people. A few authors. Paula Abdul. A few politicians. A few celebrities. Me? I tweet politics, news, football, hockey, pecan vs. pumpkin pie debates, my loathing of Elvis and “Blue Christmas”, my excitement over American Idol, Twilight, and I play a lot of hashtag games, which require their own explanation. I tweet a lot of the conversation snippets between Frank and myself. I also tweet when I burn myself or eat something exciting, but I try to make it interesting. Like “I simply DO NOT CARE how much I will suffer for eating this deviled egg” or “Tip: If you grab onto metal in the fireplace when the fire is blazing, you will burn the crap out of your finger.” See, much better than “Eating a deviled egg–yum!” or “Ow! I burned my finger in the fireplace!” Some people find me boring, so they don’t follow me, or they follow for a while and then unfollow. Some people think I tweet too much. They don’t have to follow me either.

And when you go look at someone’s Twitter profile, you’ll see a lot of @Bob @Mary, etc. That’s when the person you’re following tweets a reply at someone’s previous tweet. But when you follow someone on Twitter, you’re only going to see that reply in your tweetstream if you’re following both the replier and the original tweeter. You only see all of a person’s replies if you go to their profile page, which you usually don’t unless you’re going there to follow them or unfollow them. Or if you both follow all the same people, which would be rare.

You’ll see people throw out a question to all of their followers. I did this when I sparked the great pie debate of 2009. Another tweeter recently asked for fantasy book recommendations.

Hashtag games are my favorite part of Twitter. A hashtag game is where someone picks a topic and tweets it, and then it just spreads all over Twitter. For instance, I once picked the topic #GlobalWarmingMovies, where we took movie titles and changed them up to be about Global Warming or the religion of Climate Change (Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Science, etc.). So I tweeted a few, and people who followed me picked up on it and tweeted their own global warming movie titles, and then people that they followed did the same, and we all played along for a while. Those are fun comedy jam sessions where everyone tries to be as creative and funny as possible. I love them because they make me exercise my funny bone and creativity and keep me from going stale. And because I usually get several new followers during those games, because I’m fairly good at them, so I get a lot of retweets during those. A retweet happens when I tweet something, and one of my followers decides that all of their followers should see my tweet, so they copy it, put an RT and my name in front of it, and tweet it. So that tweets my comment to their followers, and their followers see that I’m funny (or lame), and sometimes they decide to follow me.

Twitter is not blogging. Twitter is tweeting lots of different thoughts in 140 characters or less. And a lot of thoughts only need 140 characters and not an entire blog post. I can write an entire post on how little I want to see the movie Avatar and why. Or I can just tweet, “I have less than zero interest in seeing Avatar because it’s leftist and the smurf people look stupid.”

On the aesthetically displeasing Twitter pages: You can customize your own page, and you only go to other people’s pages when you follow or unfollow. You go to your own page to see what people you follow are saying and you go to your own page to see your replies. And you install a desktop app like Tweetdeck or Twhirl, anyway, so you never actually go to Twitter on the web unless you want to check your follower count, see what lists you are on, or follow/unfollow someone.

One of Tracey’s commenters got it right, though–it’s very ego-centric. But it’s not only about egos and telling everyone what you ate for breakfast. It’s news sharing, riffing on each other, exchanging ideas, and going crazy over a football game with like-minded people (and a few token liberals). And no one sends you stupid little hearts and asks for your help in finding their lost turtles.

27 Responses to Twitter haters

  1. It is, essentially, a comment section without the blog.

    I guess I still prefer the more regimented blog-comment system. I feel assailed by too much crap on Twitter.

  2. So why do you follow the people who tweet crap? Unfollow them.

  3. Crap in the general sense, not crap in the “it’s crap” sense. I feel overwhelmed on Twitter, I should say. It doesn’t fit the point/counterpoint mold of exchange I like in my social media.

  4. Well, to get the counterpoint, you have to actually respond to people’s tweets, retweet stuff–in other words, get noticed and make people want to follow you. Once you have a lot of followers, you get responses. At first it feels like you’re yelling in the woods. Later, people start joining you in the woods.

    Also, you have to tweet more often. I see your tweets about once a month.

  5. Great post, Sarah, but did they find the turtle? Yes, I love how you described twitter and agree with you about how great it can be, but I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight unless I find out what happened to that damn turtle.

  6. Yes. I just don’t have the time to invest. That is, not invest and be able to hang out at my other usual online haunts.

    It’s not that I don’t see the appeal of Twitter for other people. I just don’t share it.

  7. I’m sure twitter is awesome…but I sure miss your blog posts b/c your such a gifted writer. Love your sense of humor! Miss your gluten and health details as well.

  8. You’ve definitely got the right points as to why Twitter is better than facebook, and why it is better is certain respects than blogging. I didn’t think I would like Twitter, hence to “ugh” when I announced (on Facebook!) that I was on Twitter. But you know what? I do like it! A lot! I think it all depends on who you follow, like you said. If you follow the boring people, then your experience will suck. Follow any or some or all of the commenters from Rachl Lukis, and you will definitely have a great time.

    I learned Michael Yon was arrested today from Twitter. I learn a lot of the day’s news from Twitter before finding it on another blog. Following any sort of political blogger and you get a lot of political tidbits than from just reading blogs.

  9. PS I do not have a desktop app, and just go to Twitter to do my twittering. That’s probably why I was wondering how my iPhone app was so awesome compared the functionality from my PC.

  10. Stickee, HA. The turtle died. I found it and stomped on it so they’d stop asking.

    Cullen, I understand that. It’s not for everyone.

    Marcy, thank you. But I can’t blame Twitter for my absence from blogging. I blame my lack of interest in blogging right now and lack of anything to talk about. Seriously, I am so boring right now. I’d write about my novel, but I’d rather be writing my novel. Everything else is… housework and our animals, who themselves have gotten boring. It’s on its way back, though. American Idol starts next Tuesday, and 24 on the 17th. If nothing else, I’ll be blogging about TV.

    maya, exactly! I find out all the news first on Twitter. I didn’t think I would like it either. I thought it was stupid. And then I got on it and saw a hashtag game and didn’t understand that, and then Frank explained, and I participated, and it was so much fun, and I was so excited about this Twitter thingy!

    And yeah, you need an app. I like the organization of Tweetdeck, and I like how it shows everyone’s follower counts. But I hate how it does things when you click on “in reply to” so I keep switching back to Twhirl. Plus Twhirl has the neato special chime for replies.

  11. I’m super new to Twitter and and slowly leaving behind my Twitter-hatin’ days. Call me converted.

    Thanks for the quick explanation. If I’d read this post last year, I might have gotten on Twitter sooner! I saw what must have been a hashtag game going on the other day and was laughing like crazy, even though I wasn’t sure what it was or how it worked.

    Did you all know that Darth Vader even tweets? True!

  12. I will, with courtesy, abstain from Tweeter. I’ve gone to your TWITS site and I’m just not getting it. OTOH, Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with a dear friend that I hadn’t heard from since 2001.

  13. Walter, tWits is not Twitter. It’s a blog devoted to Twitter. If you’re not on Twitter, you wouldn’t get tWits.

  14. Heck, I’m on Twitter and don’t get tWits!

  15. Good post! I scoffed at Twitter for months (years, maybe), but my workplace encourages Twitter use & I’ve become slightly addicted over the last 6 months. It’s my source for breaking news & frequent giggles. It can be overwhelming, though. When you follow lots of people, it’s hard to stay caught up on Twitter & still be productive in real life!

  16. you just got me to come over to Facebook from MySpace and now you want me to tweet instead of fb? Are you trying to get me to follow you or are you trying to escape me? hahahahahahahaha

  17. maya, it’s a blog. If you click on the pictures, you get blog posts. Mind you, it doesn’t have a whole lot of content right now, but it’s a blog.

    Monica, I love that your workplace encourages tweeting! I learn everything from Twitter, especially news. And it’s where I go for my funny. I used to get overwhelmed with all the catching up, and then I realized I don’t have to catch up on all 200 tweets I missed. The important stuff will still be going on or will come around again. Plus my funny list keeps me updated on my favorite funny tweeters. And Caleb’s Twits list too.

    Ma, you probably don’t have time for Twitter. Stay on Facebook.

  18. All right. Giving Twitter another go. Putting TwitterBerry on my phone is a big deal.

  19. I like Twitter better now that I talk to you through it, now that I have Twirl, and a laptop.
    I still like facebook better than twitter- for the photos, private messages, and old friend connections- the simple layout which is a triumph over myspace. You can BLOCK the stupid game invite stuff and the privacy settings just need tweaking. You can still have privacy. I like games like Mafia and Bejeweled. I like the wall comments and status updates…. and I like all this all in one place.

  20. Yeah…I’ve found that Facebook is better for catching up with actual people that I actually know, but Twitter is way better for news, funny, & links to just about anything cool you can think of.

  21. Your description of Twitter was very good. I wish I had more time to tweet, I’m just too busy usually. I like FB, and I hope to get into Twitter more in the future…when I don’t have so many people clamoring for my attention 24/7.

  22. Twitter is not blogging.

    Thanks goodness. It’d be wrong to suck at the same thing in two different places. Now I can express suckitude at length or in 140 characters or less. Sadly, Facebook is dissimilar enough that I cannot claim the sucking trifecta. Instead, I’m relegated to merely receiving more anti-stalking notices in Facebook than anyone else, which I count as a win.

    Hey, I’ve got to be good at something…

  23. I suck at the blogging, but I’m decent at the Twitter, which is why I, too, am thankful that Twitter is not blogging. :)

  24. Late to the party, but I love the Harry Potter/Global Warming thing. Knowing geeks and their predilections, I am guessing that someone already shared this… Futurama has had Al Gore on the show twice (once as a head in a jar):

    “We need to protect the earth from Global Warming, and Dark Wizards. You can read about it in my book, ‘Earth in the Balance,’ and my much more popular book, ‘Harry Potter and the Balance of Earth.’”

    FWIW, I think “Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Science” is a lot funnier. But props to Al – he did his own voicework. And the Head of Al Gore rocketing off to recycle cans on the Moon? That was sweet.

  25. this post is the antithesis of twitter, and yes, it is teh suk!

  26. Probably the best description of twitter I’ve heard.
    There’s no such thing as not having time to twitter. Twitter takes seconds to scan and post. However, it can be addictive… so time can become a factor if you let it.
    PLUS, I’ve found several new blogs via twitter that I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise.
    I still like to facebook… but it’s more like school recess, or Friday night at the drive-in used to be, where you see your friends in passing and catch up with things for a bit then move on.

  27. you talk too much.