Saturday, 7 March 2009

The Thing About Twitter

There has been a lot of media attention given over to Twitter lately. Discussion has ranged from the fascinating fact that famous people have been known to use it (yes, you can join the other 35,483 followers of your favourite celeb and get updates from their glittering lives straight into your drab little laptop - who knows, one day they may even reply to a Tweet of your own and for a brief yet gusset dampening moment you can pretend you are friends) to the chances of it rotting your brain.

I have had my own discussions with non-Twitterers who wonder what the appeal is and perceive it as the ultimate in vanity, this expectation that anyone should be interested in the minutiae of your life.

They have a point. There are a great many Tweets concerning what's for dinner, whether the author is ready for a nap or not, links to boring old shite nobody else gives a stuff about, those fucking annoying "Blip" things which just let you know what music someone else is currently listening to and announcements about cups of tea. Why do we feel the need to share this with the world? Twitter has aged a generation before its time, turning us all into elderly parents endlessly stating the bleeding obvious and alerting us to the trivial: "Ooh, I think I'll have a cup of tea", "it's a nice day" or "I think I'll have haddock for supper tonight".

The rest of the Tweets I read are thinly veiled boasts: "Have just finished writing a novel," "Had lunch with Alan Rickman and now off to photoshoot" or "Amazingly hot sex with 6 of the biggest cocks in Swingerland - fanny on fire, but worth it!"

Still, my argument is that the use of Twitter is no more vain or shallow than blogging. There is nothing you'll read on Twitter that you can't read more wordily on blogs. And that, of course, is where the benefit lies. Many Tweets may well be utterly pointless and/or annoying but they have the great advantage of being short. When time is lacking and I haven't the option of a lengthy writing session I can post an arsey, acerbic comment on Twitter and feel I have done my bit to rebuke the world for failing to meet my exacting standards yet again.

Now I am off to see what everyone had for dinner and who is bragging about the fact that they, you know, do it.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Similar to anoning comments. To troll or not.....

EmmaK said...

tweeting has its own artistic challenges - trying to say something astute or funny in ten words or less! not that I always succeed.

Famulus said...

Emmak: That is because your words are too long. No way I could average words of 13 characters... I blame my schooling...

I regard Twitter as the online version of waving at friends. It's just there so that we can re-enforce the contact that distance brings. Not really so important what you say, so much as that you have said something.

But then, yes, you have those that actually want to say something, which is usually a link to something hopefully worth reading since 140 chars is hardly literature...

Carnalis said...

I don't see how it is similar to anon comments.

I tried to explain to (married) girlfriends the purpose of twitter .. and they all looked blankly at me. The reality is sad, but simple - watching a tv show/cooking/vaguely working and meanwhile swopping comments with online friends may not be exciting, but when i am home with babies asleep upstairs i feel less cut off. Like Fam says, waving at mates.

I really dislike the name dropping tweets.

Heff said...

Yes, Twitter is NOTHING like blogging....Ok, I'm being sarcastic...

Brian said...

Can't be bothered with Twitter myself. Daily Show did a good send up of it.

Famulus said...

I do enjoy little chats on Twitter but the Daily Show is wonderful!

Luka said...

Anonymous - All depends on what you're after, I suppose.

Emma - I think this is why so much ends up as "time for a cup of tea" of "just wanked myself silly again!"

Famulus - yes, I can see the value in the waving at friends thing. I suppose where it can get trying is in that people forget that it isn't like sending a text or an instant message - everyone else can read your inane/fascinating snippets too. This is particularly true of the cooing couples.

Carnalis - the name droppers are a pain, agreed. Another facet of the boasting brigade. I always assume that if someone feels the need to name drop they are most likely friendless wankers.

Heff - we welcome sarcasm at the the Boudoir.

Brian - yes indeed, very well observed.

Walker said...

I spent 20 years with a Twitter, that was enough