This post has been swimming around in my head for the past couple of weeks for several reasons
1) I read this and
2) A friend of mine told me that she just “didn’t get Twitter.” That she didn’t understand its purpose. And then
3) just last night (how apropos) another friend of mine said to me, “Kim, seriously. HOW VAIN IS IT to be on Twitter?” (That was actually said to reiterate what she had just said prior to me admitting to her that I, indeed, tweet.)
When I first got curious about Twitter, I’ll admit, I was a bit confused. The prompt was “What are you doing?” And, so what? we’re supposed to answer, in 140 characters or less, what it is that we are doing? Um. Ok. “jonesing something sweet.”
That was LI-TER-AL-LY my first tweet! Wasn’t that so insightful? Don’t you want to ‘follow me’? I made that tweet on December 30, 2008. It’s a little over a year later and I think I’ve come a long way… but more importantly, my understanding of what Twitter is has come a long way.
So, let’s go back to my friend, the one who says it’s vain to be on Twitter. She is certainly entitled to her position, and is probably, in some degrees right. But I’ll bet a million dollars that she came to this conclusion by
1) being interested in all the hoopla about Twitter, thereby going to its website www.twitter.com and
2) reading the prompt “What are you doing?” and then
3) concluding that she doesn’t really care about what people are doing right now and “HOW VAIN IS IT TO THINK THAT OTHER PEOPLE CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW?”
[Small Print: I should state here that Twitter has recently (in the past 2 weeks) updated its homepage. On it no longer is the whole “What are you doing right now” prompt. It’s been replaced, more accurately, by: “Discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world” and “Twitter is a rich source of instant information. Stay updated. Keep others updated.”]
I, too, thought that that was all there was to it—I make that painfully obvious in my very first tweet, all that time ago (and I probably still do from time to time). The difference between her and I was that, well, I guess I am a tad vain and I guess she isn’t. So I got on and she didn’t.
As I continued to use Twitter, eventually, I came to realize that it is, actually, not all about me. I started following a fantastic group of social media experts and through their tweets, I learned how to use Twitter and, quite frankly, I continue to learn how to use Twitter. My understanding of its function is ever-evolving.
But here is what I know right now: Twitter is like having access to everyone’s brain!
I’m not even kidding, ya’ll. It’s all about finding people that you connect with (or want to connect with) on some level and engaging them in some conversation—building virtual relationships that are not bound by any race, religion, creed, socio-economical status, geography, etc.—and sharing!
Having said all that, Twitter is not for everyone.
Remember my other friend? The one that just “didn’t get” Twitter? I probably should mention that she’s only 19. Part of the younger generation that people naturally assume is on Twitter but in reality, is no where near it! Think about it: the younger generation just doesn’t get it because for them, it truly is All. About. Them. (remember those days?) And they cannot get beyond the idea that it’s stupid to post what they’re doing every minute of the day, because let’s face it, do they really want their mom & dad and the entire universe to know that they’re about to sneak out of the house and go that party to kiss that one guy whose been flirting with her all week?
What about you? Do you Tweet? Why do you or don’t you Tweet? How do you define Twitter?