Sunday, March 04, 2012

Chirping into the Aether

I signed up for Twittter awhile ago, used it briefly, and then sort of abandoned it. I suppose I just didn't "get it." Lately, my motivation to engage with it has returned and I find myself once again chirping away. I am still not sure, however, that I get it. In fact, I am almost certain I don't.

I suppose the first problem is I don't actually have anything to sell. I would love it if I could use Twitter to bring readers to this blog, but I am afraid of the success. Now, you might think it an insane notion. However, my suspicion is that I would end up being forced to feed the Twitter beast just to sustain followers and redirect them to my blog. I want to blog, not be my own social media marketer. If I produce a couple of blog posts per week, I suspect I would have to fill the rest of the time with tweets about my shoes, or the neighbor's dog, or even -god forbid- how great a turkey sandwich that was. Otherwise, the followers would forget about me.

Maybe not. Maybe my writing is so wonderful, people are so eager to read what I have to say that they wait with bated breath for my twice a week tweet and link. Its possible. But it seems more likely that - given the crowded attention span of modern life - I would have to work to elbow into your mind-space at every opportunity.

I am not a celebrity, obviously, and so I am not going to use twitter to sell myself, or to practice the thinly veiled conceit that social media makes fans feel closer to celebrities. I don't know where this comes from. What do you think is going to happen, that your shining wit and charm is going to come through on clever status comments, or tweet replies, and the celeb in question is going to follow you? I am sure somewhere, someone will come out of the virtual woodwork and object with a vociferous "I've done it." At which point they will describe the strategy by which they convinced some celeb to follow them on twitter. And I, of course, will reply with "Perhaps you should spend that energy on a productive hobby, like wood-working or badminton."

I think the problem is not so much that I don't "get" twitter. Its just I don't care. That is to say, I am not interested in the lives of celebrities. My favorite celebrities are people whom I admire precisely because they seem like working people whose jobs happen to be entertainment. I am not interested in "brands" per se. I buy stuff I need, and I try to get a good price. I could care less about the web presence of my q-tip manufacturer. Your product is going to clean my earwax, let's just keep it real.

I am not giving up on it. I may yet figure twitter out, and if nothing else, it is a fascinating sociological artifact. Its value in grassroots political organizing has been made more than evident. There may be something to all this chipping and chirping. Who knows?

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to retweet!


  1. I quit Virtual Tourist and My Space because of the time and attention it took to respond and comment on it.. and I will not join Facebook or Twitter. Life certainly has so much to offer. At my time in life, where I am, I cannot spend so much time in virtual conversation...and yes, if I was elling something, or a person of public noteriety, it might be different. Blogger is my speed because it's sort of like a diary, only public, to share with friends and family and occasionally I am introduced to an interesting person who happens by. I get my pleasure from writing, photographing, venting, and recording events of interest in my life. So you are not alone in not feeling the need for sonstant "connection".

    1. yeah, I am pretty "linked in" to the whole social media thing, but I still don't get twitter. Facebook is for me what your blog is to you in some sense, a way to keep up with friends and family and share stories and pictures. I love that dimension of your blog btw. Thanks for reading!

  2. ...and apparently my "texting" or typing skills are not up to par to twitter, as well.