So. Sa-HO. If you're a longtime reader, you'll know that I'm kind of a champ at Facebook (article slightly outdated due to changes in profile structure, but the core principles remain the same). If we e-mail a lot, you'll also know that I maintain my Gchat status religiously. After my Twitter account staged a coup last week, I decided to relaunch it with newly open privacy settings and join the 21st century when it comes to shameless self-promotion (follow me by clicking the button at right! If you like me on Blogger, you'll love me on Twitter! Whee, look at me go!). Now seemed as good a time as ever to lay down the laws of the land regarding Twitter. Twitskies. ~*~TwiTteRLiCiOuS~*~ TIT-ter. I'm hilarious.
Twitter (n): A stupid site for stupid people with no friends, who think everyone else gives a shit what they're doing at any given time. Also lacks the functionality of other social networking sites, not that it matters because just like Twitter all those sites suck anyway.
I've been on Twitter for a little over a year now, and I think I understand it. At least I understand where so many people go wrong with it. Here's the thing: Twitter is for clever people. And not everyone can be clever. And that's okay. I have plenty of friends who are kind and wonderful and completely uncreative, and I love having them in my life. I just don't want their boring thoughts all over my Twitter feed. Sorry I'm not sorry. Apparently, one of the biggest "problems" with Twitter (according to Twitter) is that so many accounts lie dormant; the masses join Twitter to follow friends, celebrities and businesses without ever posting updates of their own. I would argue that this is not even remotely problematic. In fact, I can think of about twelve people off the top of my head - twelve delightful people who I enjoy in real life - more people than I have fingers on my hands! - whose Twitter accounts should lie dormant. And don't.
It's difficult to make sweeping generalizations about what is and isn't appropriate for Twitter, since I have friends who love to use my words against me when I inevitably break my own rules (Jamie). It ultimately comes down to two simple adjectives: entertaining and justifiable. Example time! The other day I tweeted about the weather, commonly understood to be a faux pas in the world of social networking. I did not, however, write "UGH SOOOOOOOO HOT WANT TO CRY" (it was, and I did). Instead, I wrote, "Barely clinging to solidity. One more hour in my apartment this morning and I would have been a puddle." Not laugh-out-loud hilarezzz, but clever, right? Thought and effort went into that tweet. Sure, you could have lived without knowing that I was on the verge of of a phase transformation, but I need a place to cultivate my wit or its sheer magnitude might just crush us all. So I made my weather complaint at least somewhat entertaining. Funny stories (of 160 characters or less) and fascinating observations about the world fall into this category, as do links for pure enjoyment purposes (YouTube videos, etc.).
Under the "justifiable" heading, we have tweets for the sake of career advancement. My friend Megan is a perfect example. She works in book publishing, and she loves to share articles on the state of her industry and reply to posts by various publishing houses. I may not want to read every article about book publishing that she retweets, but I understand why she does it. Justifiable (and not just because I like her). A lot of bloggers also use Twitter as a more interactive interface through which to connect with their fans, as well as to publicize their posts and keep track of their freelance work. This is perhaps Twitter at its finest: used not to hear the sounds of our own voices (you know...figuratively), but rather to begin a conversation among like-minded people. Justifiable. (In fact, I would argue that the weather post is also justifiable because if you live in New York right now in an un-air conditioned apartment there is literally nothing else you can think about).
Things that are neither entertaining nor justifiable: "RIP [insert dead celebrity here]," a laundry list of what you did today, passive-aggressive complaints about your roommate, your dark and twisty inner pain. Save that shit for Xanga...in the year 2004. Hey-oh! Content aside, you also need to employ proper logistical behavior in order to navigate Twitter without pissing me off. If you haven't noticed by now:
If you start a tweet directed at your friend with @YourFriend, it will only be seen by that person and your mutual friends.
If you end a tweet directed at your friend (who I don't know or care about) with @YourFriend...you are pissing me off.
Retweets. Perhaps you enjoy typing the letters "RT." I get to type them all the time because there's an "rt" in my last name, so I suppose I can't fully empathize. But there is now a retweet button. Use it. If you type "RT [insert tweet here]" without linking back to the original content (and it's not for the sake of clarifying a point or adding witty commentary) (assuming, of course, that you are a witty person who belongs on Twitter at all)...you are pissing me off.
If you make a typo or decide to reword something and are too lazy to go back and delete the first go-round...you are pissing me off.
The rest of my thoughts on Twitter, in less than 160 characters: "#" is your friend. Catchphrases do not constitute humor. Don't over-abbreviate; find another wording. Don't drink and tweet. No, no, LiLo!
Harsh? Maybe. Twitter awakens some powerful emotions within me. Since it's not as ubiquitous as Facebook, the bar to use it in the first place is set way higher, as is my sass level. Maybe you disagree with my strong feelings about Twitter. Maybe you think I'm a bitch.
Whatevs. Just trynna start a conversation among like-minded people.