Twitter, We Hardly Knew Ye

For the uninitiated, here’s how Twitter works – I have no f***ing idea. I have no idea how it works – or why it is.

~Jon Stewart

Twitter and me have a funny relationship. I’m on Twitter, I ostensibly use it to promote my blog and follow others’ blogs, but the raison d’etre of Twitter continues to elude me. It’s sort of like an appendix. I know that I have one and probably need it for something or other, but wouldn’t miss it too terribly if it were forcibly cut from my being.

And yet I feel I should know more about Twitter. I’ve read and re-read posts like this one and they make all the sense of a recipe for Pasta Puttanesca…in Italian. All the cool kids are on Twitter and make copious use of tweets to promote and sell their blogs, their products, their services. Most of my fellow bloggers seem to adapt to it the way newborn ducklings adapt to water. And me? I’m as lost as I ever was.

I have several ideas for my Twitterphobia. One is simply that I’m always late to the party when it comes to the latest and greatest tech stuff (I didn’t join Facebook until the summer of 2010 and, until my uber-hip friend mentioned it to me, had not heard of Pinterest.) That’s the Luddite in me, that little voice that asks, “If you’re going to write just 140 characters, wouldn’t it be cooler just to drop a postcard to your friend in Poland or the UK?”

The second idea that crossed my mind is also logical: since I work more now than I did 10 or even 5 years ago, I just don’t have as much time for things like Twitter. My 24 daily hours need to be budgeted carefully among work, exercise, and Really Important Stuff like finishing my book manuscript and spending time with family so they don’t think I’ve vanished. With so many friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, and business interests screaming for my attention on Twitter, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Every TV broadcast and podcast I see now asks me to “join the discussion on Twitter.” If I do that I’m looking at a 2-hour black hole of non-productivity. It’s not gonna happen.

Which leads me to the Aspie perspective on Twitter. I am not now nor have I ever been A.D.D. (oh, look, it’s A SQUIRREL!) What I am is limited by my senses. Working a 9-hour day, dealing with the many demands of the public, then sitting in traffic for an hour each day is going to drain my sensory battery. At the end of the day, my reserves are committed to exercise and my other essential functions. Chances are I’m not going to spend any of it composing 140-word bon mots or reading those of others. That’s just the way it is. It’s bad enough on Facebook digging through tons of silt about other people’s personal lives for perhaps a few grains of gold buried within.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Twitter has its uses, particularly as a means for spreading the word on related topics. It’s great for building communities of like minds and helping promote blogs. I don’t think of myself as some horrible misanthrope for mostly avoiding Twitter. Nor am I an idiot who fails to grasp the nuances of hashtags, re-tweets and DMs. I get it. I just choose to live my quiet cyber-life in relative obscurity. Maybe other bloggers are more famous than me or have more followers. They probably use Twitter a hell of a lot more. And that’s great, because if the blogosphere has taught me anything, it’s that there are as many types of bloggers as the real-life personalities behind the blogs.

Twitter, you’ll be forever competing for my attention with Storage Wars and re-runs of The A-Team. Sorry about that, my friend.

What have your experiences been with Twitter? Any success stories or horrible experiences? What have you learned through tweeting? Love to hear it!

Face and Murdock perform the A-Team version of Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot” sketch

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on June 17, 2012.

10 Responses to “Twitter, We Hardly Knew Ye”

  1. I do far more on FB, but I don’t know what I’d do without Twitter. Besides the fact it helps publicize my blog (and therefore, hopefully, my books… plugplug 😉 ) it keeps me abreast of politics and to communicate with others in the Occupy Movement (we ain’t dead yet!) I can see, though, how it would not work as well for you.

  2. Twitter is definitely a time suck. But it’s also a nice interlude in the middle of the day to read some funny things, or catch up quickly with friends
    I also find that lately, I hear a lot of breaking news from twitter, then go to the online newspapers to see the full stories.

  3. I’m with you. I do it because I have to but I think I suck at it.

  4. I pretty much use Twitter run my blog posts through, gave up on the social aspect of it. I have not had a Facebook account or anything like that for a year or two and plan to keep it that way.

  5. I wish that I could say the same. I spend an embarassing amount of time mindlessly wandering on Twitter, but it is a great way to keep up with the lives of those who have been seperated with us by distance!

  6. Heather, I’m with you 100% on this. It took me forever to figure the hashtag thing out. And I don’t even know what a DM is. In my world a DM is my district manager. I signed up for Twitter for blog promotion, but even with that, it is a mere after thought. Considering I have no lack of understanding when it comes to Facebook, and I probably need a 12-step program for Pinterest, it really doesn’t make sense that I have so much difficulty with Twitter. I think I just don’t care to figure out yet another social networking site. *shurg* And don’t get me started on LinkedIn and Tumblr. I have no flippin’ clue what those are about.

  7. I don’t get Twitter either, to the point where I never bothered to try it. Who knows, if I tried it I might like it, but I don’t see what it has over FB (except that FB is getting almost unbearably rubbish, but that’s where my friends are so I stick with it. It was much better when I first joined 5 years ago.)

    On the other hand, I love Pinterest! It’s more for me than for social networking, I pin what I like and if other people like it too, fine, if not, I don’t really care. And it’s visual, which suits me. I get to collect a bunch of stuff without it taking up room in my house and annoying my husband! Plus some of the stuff I pin is actually useful… 🙂

  8. I have never been on Facebook, never been on Twitter (and I dont’ even know if you have to have a phone to be on Twitter or you can do it through your computer or what), don’t know that I’ve ever heard of Pinterest until I read this blog, and I do not even have a TV set in the apartment where I now live. Yet still I barely seem to have enough time to do all I want to do and get all the sleep I want to get!

  9. I’m with you on Twitter.

    I’m trying, but it’s not working for me. I can’t even keep my WordPress comments to under 140 characters! The people who use it don’t set aside a specific time to post, they do it all day and night. In the middle of their workdays, bathroom visits and on line at the supermarket.

    As chatty as I am, I can barely find something topical to say to the person in line behind me at the DMV – lord only knows how I’ll come up with something for my followers on Twitter.

    Speaking of followers on Twitter, I don’t have enough to really amount to much. How am I supposed to compete for followers with the superstars of show biz, sports and politics? Want to know my opinion free trade with South Africa, or would you prefer to hear Obama’s take on it? Think I know better than Tom Brady on how the Patriots will do this year?

    Who, then, is going to “follow” me? I wouldn’t even follow me on Twitter, and I AM me!

    Maybe some light bulb will flicker to life in my head and I’ll “get” it. If I do, I’ll drop back in and tell you the secret, but I may not have time – can I just tweet you the details?

  10. So funny! I was late to the social network party too! I didn’t know anything about this stuff until I started blogging a year ago. My real friends are clueless, but it is a great way to communicate outside of the blog. I don’t have a lot of time to kill and don’t spend the time I should on it….

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