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.
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.