Friday, January 6, 2012

My Twitter FAQ

It seems downright wankatory to spend so many words writing about something that denotes brevity as much as Twitter does, but I think it's time. In no particular order, here's some stuff you should know:

Social Media. I am philosophically opposed to "social media" (and not even really a fan of the Internet itself anymore) for reasons already elaborated elsewhere. Because of this, some tweeps can't resist the perceived irony of pointing out that I'm on Twitter. However, I view Twitter as microblogging - no different than this blog you are reading now - not "social media". 99.9% of my friends are not on Twitter and, God bless 'em, have no desire to be. Like a radio tower, I'm just broadcasting in mostly one-way communication, and whether you tune in to that transmission or not is entirely up to you. Though I do enjoy the occasional banter with strangers and fans on there, I prefer serious real-world friendships/alliances to idle digital chumminess, and if we've never shared a meal or a drink together, we aren't really friends. But that's easily remedied, which brings me to...

Eating. Whenever I tweet that I'm eating or drinking somewhere, you're always welcome to join in. If it was an occasion where company was unwanted, I wouldn't be tweeting my location in the first place :)

Following. In general, I don't follow anyone who doesn't follow me, and I don't follow anyone who I consider, at my whims, unnecessarily negative, spammy, or incoherent. I don't feel obligated to follow anyone, truth be told, and have often toyed with being one of those people who follows no one. (If you notice that some tweeps seem to have immunity to my rules, well, yes, there are some lucky souls who I consider to be above the chessboard, "of both lands and both seas".)

Manual of Style. I publicly thank anyone who follows me, regardless. I don't bother to take the time to assess whether they're bots or what. And #FF (Follow Friday) is generally the only time I do mass shoutouts. I tend to do manual RTs more than the traditional kind, especially if I think it's important enough that I need to circumvent anyone who's disabled seeing my RTs. If that bugs you, the unfollow button's right over there. You'll eat what we're cookin'.

I'm interested in everything. Unlike a lot of tweeps who seemingly exist only to talk about one narrow topic, there's very little out there in the human experience that doesn't get scrutinized by my all-seeing eye. Thus, some have expressed bewilderment and even irritation that I sometimes tweet, in rapid succession, about all manner of subjects under the sun that interest me, from quantum physics to winemaking. I have all sorts of acquaintances from all walks of life. Tea partiers. Nudists. Ministers. Stockbrokers. Drag queens. NASA scientists. Parrot-heads. People from Ohio.

Politics. Because I am highly critical of Obama, tweeps tend to automatically assume I'm a Republican. I am not. In fact, I worked for the Obama campaign in the 2008 election, although politically I don't fit into either the liberal or conservative boxes. I have bigger fish to fry than mere terrestrial politicking. But in the next election, I will probably vote for anyone but Obama - a 9-year-old boy from Montreal, a flatulent basset hound, a potted plant, or even Mitt Romney. (Yes, I consider the line Obama has crossed to be that ethically unforgivable.)

Twitter is not my personal diary. It may seem like it sometimes, but it isn't. The vast majority of what goes on in my day-to-day life isn't even mentioned on Twitter.

Smartphones. I'm apparently the last man standing in the solar system who has no interest in smartphones. Half my tweets come from a laptop running (which I vastly prefer to the unwieldy and over-coded "New Twitter") and the other half are sent as text messages via a conventional old-school cellphone. I bring all this up to remind you that unlike most of your other tweeps, I often am not looking at Twitter even as I'm posting to it.

It's all crap anyway. Twitter, like most Internet amusements, is trivial junk. Have some fun with it. Muck around with it. Poke it and see what it does for you. Don't take it seriously. I don't. (Despite having just written this lengthy FAQ about it!)