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The original tweeter

The original tweeter

One of the personal imperatives I have given myself is to understand social media.  I’m fifty- five years old, and I’ve spent my life like all the rest of you half centurions out there; I worked, got married, had kids, worked, worked, and worked.   Now that I’m on a pause (not retired, just a break) I have the time to investigate the virtual world.  I ‘m turning my attention to twitter for no less than two and no more than four weeks, because twitter leaves me feeling flummoxed, gobsmacked, confused, and downright twitchy.

I have a twitter account, and it is linked to my website. This is only because the instructor in my basic blogging course said it would be a good way to recruit followers.  However, I’ve rarely visited it, because of those feeling words I mentioned above.  In order to gain understanding of how Twitter works, I visited the Twitter FAQS page.  Here is what Twitter has to say for themselves.

What do I Tweet?

It’s only interesting if she’s my grandma.

Twitter says…

“The best tweets share meaningful moments, big and small. Quote your grandma, share a photo of your pet sloth, or make a Vine video of your youngest doing a tricycle wheelie.  If you think it’s interesting, chances are your followers will too.”

I say…

If your grandma is my grandma, I might care about what she says, maybe.  If you have a pet sloth, keep that smelliness to yourself.  If your child can do a wheelie with a tricycle, it’s time for a bike.  If you think it’s interesting, I will probably not think it is interesting.  If the above examples are what you think is interesting. 

Where do Tweets Live?

What happened to the news?

What happened to the news?

Twitter says…

“When you follow people, their Tweets instantly show up in your timeline.  Similarly, your Tweets show up in your followers’ timelines. To see interesting Tweets, follow interesting people: friends, celebrities, news sources, or anyone whose Tweets you enjoy.”

I say…

Do the interesting people have sloths?  I am against sloths.  Also, do the aforementioned celebrities talk about their grandmas?  Do news sources include any real news, or are the Twitter news sources like that television show ET?  Because on ET, I don’t know who any of those celebrities are that they report on. Except for Justin Beiber, and I put him in the same slot as the sloth. Are these “news sources” like the regular network news, how they’ve stopped reporting about local stuff and the wars and atrocities going on in the world and if the spinach you buy at the grocery store has been recalled, and are now focusing on the Octomom and someone in Kansas whose trailer home was destroyed by a tornado?  Besides, all I can see when I look at twitter feeds from news sites like Reuters is a reminder to visit Reuters’ website.  Do I really need that extra step?  Can’t I just go directly to the website?

 I follow 30 different folks on twitter.  They are writers, magazine editors, educators, and all are folks who should have something to say.  However, if my twitter feed were a book, the genre would be a cross between a sorority confessional and an overstuffed first novel by a twenty year old with a little talent and a lot of arrogance.    Maybe there’s a code within twitter’s 140 character message in which the interesting people hide messages, but I haven’t managed to break it.

Why 140 characters?

Twitter- just for the slothful?

Twitter- just for the slothful?

Twitter says…

“We like to keep it short and sweet! It also just so happens that 140 characters is the perfect length for sending status updates via text message. The standard text message length in most places is 160 characters per message. We reserve 20 characters for people’s names, and the other 140 are all yours!”

I say…

What if my name is only ten characters?  Can I have the ten unused characters back?  I usually don’t get out of bed for less than two hundred and fifty characters.  Can we open up some sort of negotiation?  I take exception to your “perfect length,” comment.  That’s your opinion.  For me, something much longer is perfect.  I have things to say. And what is a status update? I looked up the word status in the dictionary.  It means the relative social, professional, or other standing of someone or something.  It also means the position of affairs at a particular time, especially as it relates to economics.  My status is pretty stable, thank you very much.  Just because I post something new to my website, that doesn’t mean my social standing or position of affairs has changed one iota.  I also don’t think that your status changes just because your boss made you work an extra hour on your shift at Burger King.  I also don’t think tweeting fifty messages in a row with the “F” word in them changes your status, even if your tweets reveal your status of being a tool.  All over the world, school kids are getting the wrong idea about the meaning of the word status, and you and the Facebook have something to answer for in this department.

Will I continue my twitter account?  That is the question.  I keep thinking that there has to be more to social media than what meets the eye, so I will continue my hard hitting investigation next week, in which I’ll delve into twitter symbols and the retweet.  Until then this reporter is signing out.

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