Monday, January 23, 2012

[1239] twitter is for conversations

If I hear someone say ONE MORE TIME that Twitter is dumb because "no one wants to know what you had for breakfast," I may have to break somebody. (Cue clever commenter who insists on repeating this immediately after reading. Har dee har har.)

I have been on Twitter since December of 2008, and I'm sure on occasion I have had a breakfast so stellar that I've felt the need to tweet about it. This is not the norm. Twitter is for conversations.

LJ friends since 2001.
Clearly middle-aged men
who live in their mothers'
When I follow someone on Twitter, implicit in the act is that I feel like I'd totally hang out with that person. I don't plan on passively skimming his/her updates as something to do to pass the time between my own 140-character bursts of brilliance. I plan on responding, interacting. I follow because we study the same things, have mutual friends, watch the same TV shows, have similar senses of humor. These were the same reasons I picked Livejournal friends back in the day, or frequented the Switchfoot boards and Flicker Records forums. I wasn't looking for neat little avatars to add to a harem of fans that made me look popular. I was looking for friends. And I found them. In the past several months, I've hung out with no less than four friends I've known for nearly a decade over various forms of social networking. Y'know, back when everyone who talked to a teenage girl online was supposedly some sort of predator in disguise.

On Twitter, like I once did on Livejournal, I come to know people's stories. I know the names and personalities of their significant others and their kids. I know the anxieties and the victories of their job hunts and Ph.D. applications. I know their favorite bands, their political views, their passions, and their idiosyncrasies. There comes a point at which I stop referring to people as "Twitter friends" and just start calling them "friends," although it always feels like I'm hiding something to do so. In 2012, it's silly to still feel embarrassed about knowing people from the internet. Especially since, dammit, we have some amazing conversations!

Yesterday, a quip I made about Joe Paterno turned into a fantastic dialogue about Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and separating the art from the artist. You can read the conversation for yourself right here in this pretty little Storify story I made out of it. This is NOT out of the ordinary! These kinds of talks happen all the time! If you choose the people you follow wisely, you'll get a lot out of it.

lolz. weatherz dumb.
im goin on twitter.
Now don't get me wrong: Sometimes mundane details about life add to the dialogue of Twitter. They help us get to know each other. Not every conversation we have with friends IRL carries immense gravity or importance either. Michelle and I have been known to begin our conversations with the phrase, "I like my face today." In the very rare instance that we have something actually worthwhile to say, we preface it with "OMW," meaning "Oscar Mayer Weiner," meaning something that's really not worth explaining, but isn't as full of innuendo as it sounds. My point is that our conversations are usually so unimportant that we actually make an elaborate distinction when we DO have something of note to say. So if someone happens to Tweet something like, "Waiting in line at the DMV, ugh," or "Eating a pancake. #omnomnom," or "SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS!" this does not discredit Twitter as a medium anymore than it discredits face-to-face interactions to mention the weather.

"For our sake, you guys." 
You don't have to like Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr or whatever other social networking site I happen to enjoy. But when I tell you I like it, for the love of Peter, Paul, and Mary, please refrain from telling me it's stupid because of some unfounded reason you came up with when you logged in this one time and didn't immediately get it.


Julie Cowen said...

Totally agree with this sentence (well, and all of it, but this in particular): "If you choose the people you follow wisely, you'll get a lot out of it." I get links to the BEST articles from some of the people I follow on Twitter!
Julie C. :o)

craiglaub said...

what if I ate this blog up for breakfast...can I tweet about that without ridicule?

kelly ann said...

Oh Corri... once again, you rule.

Shilo said...

Mr Reginald Peacock's Day - audiobook

Data publikacji: 10.02.2010
Katherine Mansfield was the pen name of Kathleen Mansfield Murry (1888-1923), a prominent New Zealand modernist writer of short fiction. She is widely considered one of the best short story writers of her period. A number of her works, including "Miss Brill", "Prelude", "The Garden Party", "The Doll's House", and later works such as "The Fly", are frequently...