Tuesday, December 3, 2013

PSA About Twitter

I asked a friend the other day -- "What exactly is twitter?"  I know.  Shouldn't I know that by now?   It's gotten way too late to ask about it.

Like, "Um, could someone fill me in -- what's the internet again?  Oh, that's right!  I totally knew that.  I just forgot for a second.  No, seriously!  I did so know what the internet is!  My mom even took us there on vacation once back before it got popular with the tourists.  In fact, I knew about the internet before they even had the net part, you were just out there loose."

Things I already knew about Twitter:
  • There's a 140 character limit, which seems both cool and confining.  In fact, I sometimes wish we had that in conversations.  As in, "Ooops!  You're all out of characters. No more route talk for you!"
  • You follow people but it's not considered creepy
  • When you follow someone it seems like they're following you, because the follow-ees deliver themselves up to the follow-ers at random times.  (Who's stalking who?)
  •  Umm.  I guess that's it.  I had hoped this would be a longer list.
Things I didn't know: 

  •  If you follow someone, and they tweet, how does it arrive?  As a singing telegram? A knock at the door?  (Or, if you have one, a ring of the doorbell? Do people still have doorbells?  Oh wait, is that just me again, with no doorbell?)  E-mail?  Text?  It couldn't be any of those, I thought (not for the obvious reason, which is that it would be weird if when I'm stalking someone, they knock at my door and sing out their 140 character message.  No, that's not why it couldn't be one of those.  It's because there's a whole new verb, "twitter".  (That name itself is where I started to picture the handsome shirtless guy dropping by with the messages.)  If there's a new verb, there must be a new actual thing, right?
  • Why?   (On all of it.  140 characters, the confusing relationship between the follower and the followee, the name, etc.)
What I learned:

You download an ap and the tweets arrive on your phone as words on the screen.  Hmm, that sounds vaguely familiar.  Have you guys heard of "texting"?  Yeah, completely different.  Requires a brand new verb.  We know the word "running."  But we'd need a whole different word for running in seersucker pants with scissors, of course.  Don't try that (seersucker at this time of year).  It's bad manners.

 We're going to run out of verbs at this rate, people.  We'll come to a point, the planet's getting warmer, we're getting older, the turkey leftovers need to be tossed, the dark times are upon us, and suddenly, when we least expect it, something brand new, a brand new way of locomotion will arise, and there won't be any words left.  We'll go to the verb cupboard, totally empty.
  

13 comments:

  1. Oh, Betsy! I love you! The other day Lily asked, at one of our many Thanksgiving gatherings, what Twitter was. I was slightly taken aback because she is 28 and I knew more than she knew about it, although you just cleared up a few things for me here. I'm still hazy about the whole concept and it seems to me that celebrities get in a whole bucket of trouble all the time about their Twitters. Tweats? Whatever. And Instagram? WTF? Shall we discuss Bitcoins? No. Let's not. Let's not waste any more verbs.

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    1. Oh, it's so mutual!! I don't even know what a bitcoin is. Yikes. I hope I don't owe anyone a bitcoin. That would be awkward.
      XO!

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  2. I am going to tweet this and syndicate it to my Vine.

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    1. Shoot, vine? Twining vine? I know what that is!

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  3. Thank you, Betsy. I've never tweeted or twittered...and, I too, have wanted to know how it works. I have so many questions in need of answers because I have forgotten so much of what I once knew and my brain has very little space left for data. My kids asked me what Chanukah was and all I could remember was that it had something to do with oil running out and the Maccabees. But, then I couldn't remember whether the Maccabees were the good guys or the bad guys. This might be okay to forget if you are Christian...but I'm technically Jewish. Oy veh!

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    1. Lucky we have the internet which serves as a surrogate brain. Happy holidays!

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  4. Oh, Betsy, you make me smile :)

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  5. I have a doorbell. It's lighted with a warm, amber glow. Nobody ever uses it. And I have a telephone with (oh, what's that verb?) uh, you call and talk to a recorded message thingey. When I return home some man's voice talks to me. He says, "You have no messages." I have Skype with a long list of contacts. None of them are ever online. Is anybody out there? Hello? Hello?

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    1. Mike, I have a phone that blinks at me because there are messages, and I hide under a pillow when I see that. I peek out once in a while and hope the blinking will stop but it doesn't. Should I just get rid of it? Is that worse?

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    2. Blinking, tweeting, texting...don't they all sound like they could be vulgarities or maybe profanities? "My Albert dropped the T bomb at lunch today, so I washed out his mouth with soap." My advice: pull the plug on that blinking thing, go find a real person, and have a conversation that lasts more than 140 characters.

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  6. PSA about bitcoin needed soon. Please, we can't wait....

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  7. Oh Betsy. I had to think about this one for a while, it made me smile, though. I'm an early adopter, I sign up for anything, just like book reviews, I try beta apps for fun, usually as soon as I hear about them, but I drop them one by one, eventually. I still have a twitter account and I post maybe a dozen things a year but for the wrong reasons. I tweet so I can find the thing that interested me later on when I can't remember where or what it was. I have no real following, I just use it to stalk or act as a news RSS feed for all the things that interest me. I have lots of overlap with my face book account, and honestly, I joined both facebook and twitter so I could follow JR Richards from Dishwalla about 7? years ago because am was and still am a super fan.

    So many apps, so much time wasted, but so little real value added to life. Here's where I think twitter is priceless though - when shit is going down in the world - a weather tragedy, a coup, or a kickass episode of a tv show - twitter is where you find the news, fast and almost as it happens. I like that, my inner info hoarder likes it. But like facebook, twitter, instagram, vine, second life, the ning, wordpress, flikr, tubmlr, any of those social sites that let you geek out and interact, there's only so many hours in a day, and there are real people, books, news, stories and shows to pay attention to in real life too.
    It's been really interesting to me to watch my teenagers almost grown up, adopt and drop applications. Facebook is so last issue. Tumblr too. Instagram is hanging on, but texting and snap chat have staying power. Me, I don't get snap chat. I'd rather facetime or skype a conversation with words. The urge to share is not that great for a lot of people like my kids, they're busy doing stuff and maybe texting about it.

    Thanks for the laugh and the thoughts to ponder. :)

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