Musings on Everything

I muse, therefore I write.

On Twitter

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I’m sure that by now, the more observant of you will have noticed the new sidebar feature. It’s my Twitter stream, updated on page refreshes with whatever it is I’m saying ATM.

Twitter is a method to communicate to anyone and everyone in short, 140-character bursts of information. You can “tweet” about anything from your dinner to the latest zany antic of your cat/dog/kangaroo/other pet of your choosing.

Or you could even use it for the stated purpose, which would be to tell the world “what you are doing”. I know a guy who uses it for that. He’s very boring.

Anyway, back to business. In the past month or so I’ve been an active user of Twitter, I’ve managed to get a pretty good handle on the reasons people are addicted to it, mainly by going and getting addicted to it along with them. ‘Course, you have to have people following you in order for Twitter to be of any use whatsoever.

First things first: You need to find some people to follow. Whether it be John Hodgman or Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore or Shaquille O’Neal, Rainn Wilson or Jimmy Fallon, Heidi Montag or Weird Al, Stephen Colbert or Jerry Trainor, Kevin Rose or Marina Orlova, Wil Harris or Dr. Horrible, LeVar Burton or Wil Wheaton, Stephen Fry or John Cleese, Ryan Seacrest or Britney Spears, Lance Armstrong or Darth Vader, Adam Savage or MC Hammer, there are a gazillion celebrities out there for you to interact with.

And for the preteen/female crowd, you can follow Taylor Swift, the girl from Twilight, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, or whoever else you can dig up. I think one or more of the Jonas Brothers has a Twitter as well, not sure. These are just who I can remember offhand.

There are also people who are not famous on Twitter, of course. I’m not going to give you any suggestions there, except to follow myself, @thatthingyoudo, @anarchyxcrayons and @violabeatle. You probably know us. But in the end, you need to find your own group of people and start following, and (most importantly) interacting with them. Because in the end, Twitter is just another place to find friends on the internets. And that’s what makes it so cool. Because if you combine celebrities and direct contact, you can have a conversation with Stephen Fry. And Shaq. The Shaq. Even though he’s in Chicago and you’re in your chair.

And that’s just reason one. Reason two: everybody’s an exhibitionist. It’s just the vast majority of the world doesn’t know it yet. And that’s all I have to say on this topic, because reason three is the big one:

Twitter works almost like how real life works. On places like Facebook, you need the mutual friending thing in order to be in communication with that person on the Facebook platform. While this is a good idea for privacy, it’s not really how conversations work. Think about it for a second, using the analogy of asking somebody you don’t really know that well what the homework is. Doesn’t matter which class. You just know that both of you take it.

Facebook method:

You: Hey. Can you be my friend so that we can talk?

Them: Yes. I have accepted you as my friend.

You: Yay. I now have access to every detail of your life.

Them: Yes, you do.

You: What was the homework?

Them: We didn’t have any.

You: Oh.

You see, not only is this method long and cumbersome, it’s needlessly compromising. All those extra steps on Facebook are replaced on Twitter with this exchange:

You: @them what was the hw?

Them: @you we didn’t have any

That’s it. You don’t even have to be following them. Easy in, easy out. The fluidity of Twitter mimics real life and allows for more natural, flowing interactions. It’s just as easy to hold a conversation: just keep @replying to each other.

Another great feature of Twitter is its simplicity. All you need to do is sign up, follow some people and start twittering. It doesn’t try to be everything under the sun. Twitter does one job and does it well.

And it’s a combination of all these aspects that has so drawn me in. With Twitter, it’s like stream-of-consciousness, only not a book and a little bit more condensed. I suggest you all try it out. Who knows? Maybe you’ll like it.

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Written by Sri

April 4, 2009 at 9:45 PM

Posted in Musings

Tagged with , , ,

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