What use is twitter?

Yesterday, I  added a Twitter account to accompany the blog. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was to round out the blog a little more, perhaps it was to try pull in a few more readers, perhaps I just fancied using it for a while. This is the blog for the 15 minute writer exercise, so what part of that is Twitter? Well the answer I think, is to add a little more rounding to the content of the exercise, rather than to the exercise itself per se. The blog is starting to find its personality, and I’m convincing myself that the twitter account is just a part of that. Hmm, perhaps I should examine this a little more.

Oddly, when signing up, the focus is less on what to say and more on who to follow. So who to follow? Twitter is much like the blogsphere in that regard. You can follow whomever and whatever you want. There is pretty much everything out there. It mainly just comes down to interests or people you want to follow. Perhaps some of the blogs you like have twitter accounts, so maybe follow them. You like music news, follow something like pitchfork. You have a favourite football team (by which I mean Soccer team for the American readers), they’re probably on there as well. Actually I do have a team (you can check my twitter account to see who) and some of the writers who write about this team are on there, so they can also be followed. What is the point of this? I’m not entirely sure. It’s like those awful 4G adds we keep seeing on American TV, “that was so 38 seconds ago”. Do we really need to move that fast? More on that a bit later.

The opposite end of who you should follow, is obviously, who should follow you? Or more to the point, how do you get someone to follow you? Without an audience, you’re pretty much banging on about any old rhubarb to yourself. It’s like being trapped in your own head a second time. And who wants that? I want to let a bit of me out from time to time. That’s why I have a blog, that’s why I have a twitter, that’s why I er, well er, something. I suppose I could just communicate with some people. Oh I am, I’m just doing it in a different way. Take a high pitched accent here “like, what-ever”.

Literally about five minutes from signing up this account, I got spammed. I got a new follower who kindly had a website, you know, a sex one. The twitterings on said account were just to waffle, but clearly were not reflecting the person this was supposed to be. In return for being my first friend on twitter, I reported her as spam. It was not a great way to treat my first “friend” but some lessons in life are harsh, and she could learn one of them. I was spam followed again about an hour later from someone else. This was a good start. Thankfully, shortly afterwards I got a real follower. Oh well. if you want an audience, follow some people and they may follow you in return. Adding it to the blog might also pick up a few. Over time I suppose I may pick up a little audience, a bit like the Pied Piper playing a tune but only some of the rats thinking it was worth a second listen. The rest of them will just sit there thinking they’ve probably heard that tune before somewhere.

So is Twitter for idiots? Well it only has a small box to type in doesn’t it? What can you say in there? The answer of course is not a lot, but also everything. You can post links, make small commentary, post a bit of info, a quick opinion. Something or other along those lines. Really it is kind of headline or prompt service. It gives you chance to post something that people can react to or ignore. It is not for in depth articles, those you can only point to. But that is not to say it is not useful. For example a writer who writes about a certain football team, posts the team line-up for each game prior to the start. He also has some comments about the play as the game progresses. If you want to you can participate, or you can just read, or even ignore. It is there if you want it and that is part of the point.

Twitter is of course just another, and as a sign of our times, way to communicate. It is short and fast. Do we need to move this fast, does it indicate what short attention spans we supposedly have these days? Well you are not forced to use it. I don’t think it reflects a short attention span unless it is the only thing you read. As I pointed out above it is more like prompts or headers. Twitter is a little bit like the dots joining other things together. You can follow the dots if you wish, to comments, debates, articles and wherever it may lead. It is communication on a basic way, but in the right context, a powerful way, it just depends where the dots lead. It is instant, so it means it is right there for someone to react to straight away. Considering it could be anyone in almost any place in the world, well that is communicating power.

Welcome to twitter where me communicate with you. I might not explain a lot but it might explain a little, and it might lead somewhere good. I suppose that is the point right?

Lexicon word of the day: perspicacious.

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