Thread: Random Thoughts
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Mudblood77 View Post
I just don't get it. I've seen some "tweets" and I just don't get it. Besides the unfriendly page formats it is hard to follow . . . I can't put my finger on just what about it I don't get I just . . . don't get it. I don't see the point.
Originally Posted by Paradiso View Post
You don't get it because there's nothing to get, Muddy. It's exactly like public email or a blog with a character limit in order to make it smart phone friendly. That's it. It's dumb.

Paul Klee/The Twittering Machine

(OK - this is going to be long - of the kind not possible on twitter.)

I totally see why someone would not be interested in yet another social media, Muddy - and if you have all the contact you want w/ all the folks you want, you're set, and can forget about Twitter.

But it's not dumb, Diso - just 'cause it doesn't appeal to you. You might consider that without having experience using it, you may have a few misconceptions or gaps in your understanding about it.

For instance, I don't use it much on my phone, and when I do, I use an app - usually "echofon" - though there are 100's of other great organizing apps for my phone. But for the most part, I usually use it online, in a web browser.

I'm not sure what "public email" would be - but group emailing can be clunky and out-of-sync, or simply broadcasting one message to a number of people. Twitter can have easily-trackable chron conversations, and you can always easily go to DM if you need to be private.

I don't tend to twit stuff on the order of "I am now eating my breakfast cereal" (though that's pretty much what our "What I Just Ate or Am Eating Now!" is) - and I don't twit "I saw a movie today" - unless I have something to say. Tweets are only boring if the twitterer is boring - like much else in life.

Following interesting folks/groups brings you fast access to interesting links, current news even before it hits blogs and news sites (and much more quickly and easily than in other kinds of social media, because it's all organized onto one referring page. Even if you're not in a hurry to get the latest, not having to hunt and dig to get crucial info is always a blessing. If I feel an earthquake here in L.A., the first thing I do is hit Twitter, where I follow numerous sources *all gathered together* & I'll get the needed info.)

One use: I keep a Twitter window open on whatever computer I'm using, and can have a running conversation with folks I care about in my own time while I'm working. It's kinda like chatting a bit while you're at work - except that it's *only* people you like (unlike most workplaces) *and* they're not bugging you when you have to concentrate, and you can switch them off and get the news instead if you prefer. I can keep up with the various moods and states and happenings of my friends, and offer consolation and advice if it is looked for.

You can have twit-lists of folks you follow, and check only the tweets of folks on those lists if the mood strikes you. I follow over 600 profiles, but only about 60 or so are friends, and I keep those on a separate locked list (locked - no one can see it but me, and be hurt by being excluded). I have news/pop culture tweets on another, and can quick check that list if I want to catch up on what's the what. I have 20 organizing lists for folks or organizations or companies that I follow, and I use them all the time.

With about 680 (mostly) intelligent and informed followers, if I have a question about almost anything, I can get a pretty immediate answer. That's pretty heady stuff, and mighty handy.

It's different from any other social/communication tool that I use or have used - except that it *is* like the Facebook status report (without having a bunch of personal profile info being stripped-mined for marketers) but with a character limit. It's not like texting or IMing with one person, because it involves many more folks, and it doesn't require me to be there in real time to participate, though I can be. It's not like a blog at all - a blog is basically (except for comments) a one-direction broadcast media, and not an ongoing group back-and-forth shared conversation like Twitter.

It has elements of a forum - like Goners - but it's handier and less ponderous to use when you're busy doing other stuff, and it gives you access to tons more folks than will ever join Goners, much as I love Gonerses-folks. While there's connections I can never get from Twitter and that I love in Goners, there's also stuff in Twitter that can't be had in Goners. Fact.

And Twitter affords you daily contact with folks who often don't have time to go to forums (which generally require a lengthier visit to stay current, having to weave in and out of the many threads) or exchange emails or IM. It allows you to build gradual intimacy with folks over time in a low-pressure situation - you can be shy and sit in a corner and listen, or you can be bold and out there and talking with many at once. It's a bit like Doug Adams long-running cocktail party, only with fewer drunks and less avocado droppings. You can pop in and out at will, with no expectations and no need to R.S.V.P. There's almost always stuff going on, and someone to talk to if you want.

The 140 character limit does a couple of great things for this ongoing conversation - it forces you to be concise and accurate and clear (which doesn't mean you have to colorless or telegraphic - there are some great poets writing on twitter, as well as amusing storytellers). This causes you to do most of your thinking before you open your mouth - which is generally a big plus in a conversation. The second is that it keeps one person from longwindedly dominating the conversation. Like I'm doing here.

Though I'm a designer, I could care less about how the page looks - other than its being clean, unobtrusive, mildly pleasing, organized. It's a virtual meeting room and a conduit, and it needs to look like little more than that. The visual creativity comes in from 1) the individual avatars & backgrounds & 2) the photos & art people link to, as well as 3) the sites folks link you to.

I've made friends on Twitter, picked up work, gotten access to free design resources (without even having to look for them) and communicated & made arrangements easily with a number of friends during events and trips. And more.

Twitter allows any shifting of people-connections to be made more easily and discreetly than in other social media. Though someone you follow may get an email when you follow them (if they have chosen to get such emails), they don't get any indication if you un-follow them, and to follow someone does not carry the same weight as be-friending on MySpace or Facebook. Permission does not have to be granted, and you can stop following someone without making a big statement of it. You can block out someone's presence (for yourself) with one click, and they will *still* likely never have to hear about it. There's less social pain in that way than w/ other sites.

I back up my tweets with a free service at, and end up with what is essentially a searchable daily diary, with my shared links recorded as well. Handy.

Twitter also does something better than any other social media yet - allows you access to artists and actors and other notables whose work you admire - it makes it extremely easy for you to say something to them, and just as easy for them to either respond or ignore - a fact that has encouraged many to answer. I've gotten info on Dollhouse costuming from Shawna Trpcic as the show was being shot, submitted my question last-minute to a Jossian conference call so that he could answer it (he did), made Stephen Fry laugh, had John Cleese follow me of his own accord -- and had a bunch of other fun & informative interactions that could happen in no other venue.

I'm the farthest thing from a celebrity kindof person you could imagine - I don't collect autographs or have photos taken w/ my Whedon'verse notables, and I leave famous folks alone when I see them at events or (often) out and about in L.A. But there is something very appealing about being able to interact w/ creators you admire in such a no-pressure long-term situation, and you can't tell me that's either dumb or boring.

All in all - Twitter offers a venue/gathering place where conversations are happening as in no other major online venue to date. Money for non-profits has been raised like lightning, meet-ups of like-minded folks at the drop of a hat, and whole artistic endeavors organized with ease & transparency. You don't have to like it, you don't have to get it, you don't have to use it - but putting it down doesn't make it any less of a breakthrough social forum. I'm just a little surprised to hear such scoffing from someone under half my age - usually it's folks my age or older that adopt this hard-line anti-twitter position.

You might enjoy reading Margaret Atwood's "How I Learned to Love Twitter":
"At first I thought Twitter was for kids, but I was soon hooked. It's like having fairies in your garden."

I loved this, Cabby:

Originally Posted by Susan Orlean
I think Twitter is like taking an evening stroll around town square, listening to chatter and occasionally blurting something out.
(silvius, OMFG - you're on twitter? Did you tell us this? You did not. What's your name on there? Not surprisingly, I'm quotergal. Follow me! I'll follow you back ASAP. Dude! And that goes for any of youse guys. Even you, Diso-scoffer. )

Last edited by QuoterGal; 06-20-2010 at 12:05 PM.
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