Monday, April 20, 2009

Twitter This!
I think the first time I heard about Twitter was on CNN when Rick Sanchez was reading some of the Twitter comments he received. I didn’t care. I didn’t care about the comments and I didn’t care about Twitter. To me it was yet another way to feed the great Internet with more useless information.

Then came President Obama’s State of the Union Speech and several congressionals were criticized for “tweets” they had written during the speech. Yes, during the speech. They weren’t listening they were Twittering. And not only were these notable statesmen not listening to the President’s speech, there were great numbers of “followers” reading the twitters who were also not listening to the President’s speech.

Twitter had once again tried to find a home in my consciousness but I again dismissed it as an annoyance. For me it was a high tech way of passing notes in class. Being punished for that in third grade, I have a bad memory of the idea.

Then Ashton Kutcher becomes the self-proclaimed king of Twitter. It is suddenly news worthy that one million people are “following him”. One million? That got my attention. Not that a million people were Twittering but that a million people would give a shit about Ashton Kutcher. I decided it was time to look into this Twitter.

On the Twitter site home page there is a quote from Eric Nuzum, Author of “The Dead Travel Fast” who attempts to explain twitter.

“Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? If you aren't familiar with Twitter, it is one of those things, like MySpace, that sounds totally ridiculous and stupid when you first hear about it. But once you start using it, you realize how much fun it is”.

So as I understand it, Twitter is an instant 140-character message that goes out to whom ever wants to “follow.” The message is supposed to be in response to the Twitter – question: What are you doing? For me that question begs two more…. Who wants to know? And Why? But in 140 characters you really can’t respond with intelligence, just speed.

In fact, just explaining what Twitter is, in the quote above, Nuzum has used two-hundred and eighty-five percent more characters than Twitter allows for a response.

On the main Twitter page there is also a video explanation by Lee LeFever of the CommonCraft show. The video is called “Twitter in Plain English.” I watched it. It isn’t a video it is a power point presentation. And of course it takes more than 140 characters to present.

I picked out some actual quotes from the video/power point. They get lost in the presentation, but singled out you have to think about them a little more. I’ve added my thoughts but I encourage you to consider what is being said for yourself.

Unfortunately most of our day to day lives are hidden from those who care,”
JJ: This is not a bad thing. Most of my day-to-day life is really nobody’s business. More importantly it is probably very boring even to those who do care.

“Real life happens between blog posts and emails. Now there is a way to share. This is Twitter”
JJ: No, blogs and email happen between real life. Blogs and emails are only reflections of what is going on in Real Life. There is a subtle idea creeping in here that implies that Real life is only what you have told someone about.

In the presentation we get to me the fictitious Carla, a new Twitter subscriber. Here is the description of Carla. “Meet Carla, she is addicted to her mobile phone, reads blogs everyday and has contacts all over the world. She heard about twitter but she was skeptical.”
JJ: Addicted to her mobile phone? Could it be that Carla is more interested in telling people about life than living it?

“Carla started seeing a different side of the people she chose to follow. She didn’t know that Stephen in Seattle was a baseball fan, or that Julia in London was reading an investment book. The little messages from Twitter painted a picture of her friends, family and coworkers that she’d never seen before. It was the REAL WORLD…”
JJ: The Real world? This is not the real world. And I am sorry for Carla if she finds being a baseball fan and reading a book fascinating facts. The reality is Carla could be attending a baseball game or reading a book, but she is doing neither. She is “following” people by reading their 140 character mental hick-ups.

But Carla’s saga continues: “Soon she became a fan of Twitter and posted updates every day. Soon her friends could follow her life between blog postings and emails. Carla found that Twitter brought people she cared about closer to her….140 characters at a time.”
JJ: Sorry. Bull Shit. Daily 140 character postings do not bring you closer to the people you care about. They are too busy writing their 140 characters about what they are doing to really be interested in what you are doing. And ultimately does any one care? As far as I am concerned they should change the name “follower” to “stalker”. This is high tech stalking and voyeurism in the clothing of being closer and better informed. I say Bullshit again.

So after all this research I signed on to Twitter. I twittered one post that was exactly 140 characters long. It was: “Will anyone ever really have conversations again? Is our interaction now only worth one hundred and forty virtual keystrokes in cyberspace?”
In twenty seconds I had two “followers”. Bite that Ashton. I checked on my followers. Turned out one was an advertisement for an oil and lube service and the other a link to a virtual casino. Yes... Twitter commercials. The first official Twitter announcement I got said that the Twitter people were combating the attack of spammers over the week end.

This is Real Life? I suggest that a million people waiting on Ashton Kutcher to “tweet” should get a life of their own. Start doing something interesting and stop living through someone else. And by all means unless you discover cold fusion or a solution to climate change…. Keep it to yourself.

As you were,


Roomie said...

Mandy said that you failed the "twitter" 140 character limit and it was tmi....but then again, who are we to talk...we, the verbose twins?
Carry on,

Bob Conrad said...

Here,here. Couldn't say it better my self. If you want to talk to someone pick up the phone and speak, or better yet pay them a visit. If you don't know who your talking to, why bother.
We think alike Jay, and talk to ourselves for a living.

David Robison said...

Hey Jay,
I'm addicted to Twitter. Not like I am Marlboro Ultra Lights and MySpace... but still addicted.

I hate cell phones, But I do like the notion of a quick text message to someone rather than a phone conversation. Even though I never text on phone.

Twitter allows me to have a somewhat delayed chat with my followers and those I follow. Plus by folowing some journalists, some other bloggers, and some comedy clubs I get quick up to the minute news, information and some interesting links.

It also allows me to be somewaht up to date and pop cultural for the latest buzz on topics.

It's all matter of who you follow and why.

(a 46 year old comic stuck in a 16 year old girl's body---yeah it sounds sick when you say it out loud)

Smith and Jones said...

Count me in the anti-Twitter bunch. If I wanted to hear about someone's trip to the store this morning, I'd start listening to my wife.