Remember when Twitter first started?
Yeah. Me either. It took me years to even set up an account, much less use it. Actually, the only reason I did was because my then-boyfriend said something like, “Twitter is for assholes.” Naturally, I saw it as a chance to spark conflict and have someone to take my misdirected femme-rage out on. So I set one up.
Only problem is: when you limit someone (who’s made a career of charging classmates to write their fluffed up term papers for them) to a hundred-something-ty characters, she has to be direct, honest, and to the point.
I didn’t find it user friendly, either. And if I posted something, no one would comment right away because I had to network and make friends (or earn “followers”). Lame. Why not just have a sleepover and braid eachother’s hair too? Are you kidding me? These weren’t real people. They were just meant to tell me how great I am and then pass along my witticisms until eventually enough people realized the true depths of my scintillating awesomery. No need to add people I don’t already know or scroll down the tweet page or read anything new.
It’s funny how I expect attention without giving it.
The prospect of indulging the musings of minds not my own seemed preposterous for a long stretch of my life. It felt like painfully partaking in a solar eclipse that blocked everyone from the brilliant rays of my own, obviously, correct opinion. I did it with Twitter. I do it with people. And I do it with myself; I’ll be so stuck on a set line of thinking, that I won’t listen to those little winner ideas yapping at the shores of my cerebral sea.
Even now, I find myself doing it sometimes – both in person and on social media.
It won’t always be as active as interrupting someone or talking over them, either. Sometimes it’s that passive, “Yeah. Uh-huh. I know. Ha-ha.” I hate when I do that and start to panic at the prospect that I’m living my life asleep. When our only power lies in what we choose to think, do, and say, it’s ridiculous to live life this way. Unless you have a girlfriend. Or a pregnant wife. Or a boss. Moving on.
That said, I’ve been more active on Twitter for the past few months.
It’s still totally selfish. I mean, following other people helps boost new ideas for my site when I’m stuck in a rut. Piggybacking (or “yes-and-ing” as they call it in improv) off ideas posted by everyone from Cracked to NatGeo is totally helpful.
Also, the comment sections or reply tweets can spur innovation. I’m very external-validation driven (that just means I seek potential approval from people in order to be productive). Comment sections of social media are fantastic for this because we know we’re writing for an instantaneous audience. Somebody’s going to see it, and if it’s remotely good, you just might get a retweet or the coveted thumbs up – the manna-hand from heaven.
The advantage with Twitter specifically, is that in the limitation of characters, I’m forced to simplify my thoughts. As someone acclimated to loquaciously crafted paragraphs, this was hard. But like anything else I hate before I try it out (euphemism for “refuse to learn”), it actually helped heaps with making abstract thoughts succinct. Then, like the collapsing universe theory, it could expand back into an Aphrodite work of art for the adulation of all.
All the meat and fat in the world doesn’t amount to much if there’s no skeleton somewhere inside.
The flipside to this (on a larger scale) is the next generation being deprived of thinking BEYOND the simple. My sister gave a talk on this recently – helping bridge the gap between the generations in the work force. In a world of auto-correct and where 2, “to”, “two”, “to” (and possibly the second person Spanish word “tu”?) are interchangeably used, recall and accuracy become irrelevant. Then creativity gets stifled by character parameters.
That said, I still spend most of my Twitter time stalking celebrities and luring randoms into reading my posts. I justify my sensationalized sleazy tweeting in that I try not to be an asshole in my actual articles. If Perez Hilton can say something sexy or morbidly arousing to talk about the same regurgitated story you hear everywhere, why can’t I use pop culture to talk about shit that matters?
But I’m no better than anyone else. I still use the good people I’ll never know of Stumble and Twitter to get hits and bonuses. And I still totally rely on manipulating keywords for my blacked out hashtag van posted outside their procrastination playground.