I don’t get Twitter.
Or in Twitter parlance: #IDon’tGetIt.
It is, at face value, actually quite simple: an online venue in which one expresses him-/herself in 140 characters, follows the expressions of others, and categorizes his/her own expressions with hashtags for ease of allowing others to follow him/her.
Indeed, Twitter’s liberal use of symbology – #, @, RT, MT, and links beginning with bit.ly or ow.ly or foreshortened forms of other familiar websites (e.g. amzn, goo.gl, wp) – gives it less the air of a web service and more that of a futuristic language.
And who doesn’t think it’s cool to be bi-/tri-/multilingual?
I get all that.
I also get that Twitter’s a great way to keep up with news, which is the primary reason I joined up in the first place.
What I don’t understand is how some people manage to actually get said news.
Because there is just so much of it.
“I will follow him…”
In essence, the thing I really don’t get about Twitter is how someone can legitimately “follow” hundreds, if not thousands, or tens of thousands of people.
I guess the same could be asked of people who follow a large number of blogs.
Currently, I’m following 31 blogs. Of those 31, five have ceased posting indefinitely, seven post less than once a week, only two post daily, and one of the 31 is my own.
I read every word of every blog I’m subscribed to, and as a result am very choosy about which blogs I follow, as my time is a finite resource.
Currently on Twitter, I’m following 61 people. Already, I’m not reading every tweet in my Twitter stream, even though they’re only 140 characters each. Because they don’t land in my inbox and wait patiently for me to find a spare moment. Rather, they just float on by, unheeded. Like a … stream.
Given my own usage habits, I’m convinced that few of my followers (40 at present, and all following far more people than I am) are reading all of me. Assuming any of them are. Which makes being on Twitter feel like I’m talking to an imaginary friend.
If a message is tweeted and no sees it, does the follower really exist? For that matter, does the Tweeter?
This, of course, makes me ask myself why bother tweeting at all. Not to mention the ongoing dilemma of what to tweet. One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 is to be more active on Twitter. I made this resolution for two reasons: One, as I mentioned above, was to get more news with less effort.
And two, to have a mind for my web presence and “writer’s platform”. Like most other aspiring novelists, I’ve read that having a following before you have even submitted your work can improve your chances of being published. Hell – I’ve even read it on Twitter.
As in most things I initially dislike, the solution thus lies in thinking about Twitter in a new way.
By tweeting things that are interesting to me, and using my timeline as a repository for links and comments I want to save, my Twitter account can serve as a compliment to my blog (a micro-blog, if you will), which, incidentally, also had no readers when I first started it.
If I’m lucky, as has been the case with my blog, what’s interesting to me will be of interest to others as well. And if I tweet it, they – the followers – will come.
Question: All you tweeters out there, what are some other Twips (twitter tips) I should follow?