If you’re anything like me, you were probably severely annoyed by the introduction of this new-fangled time-waster called “Twitter.”
If the collective time I spend on Facebook isn’t bad enough, now I have this twittering thing? And what’s with words like “twittering” and “tweeting” becoming integral parts of Internet jargon? Most importantly, how can anyone actually fit a well thought out comment or observation into 150 characters?
So many questions, and here’s the answer to that last one: you can’t. But in my early experimentations with the twitter world (and oh what a strange world it is), I think I may have found some ways you can use the Web site to your benefit, and with the potential for much amusement.
Back in the barren, forsaken days before Myspace and Facebook, I had a little something called a LiveJournal. It was basically a blog Web site where you could control which other literary journalism users read and commented on your musings and rants.
Twitter reminds me of this. Not in the sense that you’ve got other people commenting about your life, but that you have an online space that you are free to fill up with anything you want.
Lately I’ve found that twittering has come in quite handy when I want to make an observation about something or someone that is often only relevant to me, but that I will later look back on and appreciate.
The other day I was at a friend’s house and there was one particular girl who kept doing and saying the strangest things. Although my insides churned with laughter I so badly wanted to let out, I couldn’t verbalize my reactions because I didn’t want to offend this poor girl. Instead, I spent the evening twittering about her various oddities; from wanting to play intoxicated scrabble to retreating to the kitchen to make cookie dough and cream cheese sandwiches. My “tweets” read as such:
4:15 p.m. April 9 from mobile web: What’s the deal with this girl? She seems off.
4:34 p.m. April 9 from mobile web: Did she just make a cream cheese and cookie dough sandwich? Gross.
4:36 p.m. April 9 from mobile web: She actually ate the sandwich. Words cannot describe her chewing sounds.
5:23 p.m. April 9 from mobile web: Declined offer for sandwich. She’s onto her second one. Suggests we play scrabble!?
5:50 p.m. April 9 from mobile web: Her latest scrabble word: LEAF. Twelve points plus double word equals 24. Well played, weird sandwich girl. Well played.
Although you just appear to be texting, Twitter actually gives you a place to store all the funny observations you might have throughout the day that you wouldn’t normally record. Its function as a miniature journal that can be accessed instantaneously is almost more fun than its original purpose.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of other interesting things to see on Twitter. One of the funniest parts of the whole Twitter phenomenon is that major companies all across the world are now tracked, marketed and promoted on the Web site. I assume they think it’s the new face of online marketing and a good way to “get in touch with their clients.” But bad news, geriatric pharmaceutical company: Twitter is not going to help you reach your octogenarian audience.
Other non-commercial users, however, are offering some rather fascinating tweets. For example, The New York Times updates give brief abstracts of its most breaking news and feature stories and include links within its updates. For fellow fans of Michelle Obama, there’s a twitter page entirely devoted to tracking the First Lady’s every move, from speeches she’s made to what she wore to meet the Queen of England. Another guilty pleasure Twitter page to follow is P. Diddy’s, which, aside from being shamelessly self-promotional and often grammatically obscene, gives an exclamation-point-filled insight into the life of the music industry superstar.
1:16 p.m. April 16 from TwitterBerry: P twitty question of the day!: adidas or nike?????
The moral of the story? Don’t let the tweeting scare you. Trust me, it can be fun. And from the rate it’s been growing, I have a feeling we won’t be seeing Twitter fizzle out any time soon.