A Twitter Guide – I guess it doesn't need one
As I posted recently I don’t get social networking. I never really have. The one that people keep bugging me about is Twitter, and I REALLY don’t get it. Turns out I was over thinking it and that’s why I didn’t get it. But, James over at Men With Pens (which technically doesn’t rhyme, but we’re not going there right now) has written an Ultimate Guide to Twitter. Honestly, I clicked my Read It Later button and moved on because I didn’t want to dig into THAT right now. Turns out I didn’t need to worry. Twitter is apparently very simple, and apparently only understandable once you’ve tried it.
All Twitter is, is a web site where you create an account (easy) and then type in 140 characters or less, presumably in answer to the question “What are you doing?” Of course, the point of this is to hook up with friends. Now, some people out there have the kind of friends who would Alt-Tab over from Second Life to join Twitter, but my friends think Second Life is a more expensive version of games they stopped playing when they were 15 and figured out what it was you were supposed to do with girls if you actually got one. Which caused my first problem with Twitter.
If you spend most of your time IRL (In Real Life) it’s time for a vocabulary adjustment. IFL (In Fake Life) the word friend means everything from the guy who spent three nights in the county lockup without ever mentioning your name to someone you’ve never heard of before but you think their username is funny. Once you have this down, your first battle with understanding Twitter is over. Add anyone, and everyone, nobody cares.
The second thing you have to understand about Twitter is that what you type does not actually have to answer the question “What are you doing?” and it in no way has to be fascinating, funny, or clever. Non-sequiters, bad jokes, worthless puns, and down right prattle are all equally welcome on Twitter.
The third thing you have to understand is that despite it’s frequent mention you do not have to send Twitter stuff to your phone. This was a huge deal for me. I’m not in the back of Algebra class, I’m in front of the Executive Vice President of Operations for a Fortune 500 company (some days, not all the time). There is no way my phone is getting a text that says “Using the can” during the workday. Turns out you can just route it to a chat program. Hold on, you only think you don’t have a chat program. You do, you just don’t know it. If you have a Yahoo or Google login you have a chat program. Click the button and just open the window. Send your Twitter stuff there.
That’s it. Nothing to it. Is it fun? Well, the jury is still out on that for me, but everything I’ve read about it starts out “I didn’t get it, and now I love it.” So I guess you got to try it.
Go ahead and follow me. I’ll be your first “friend”. I’m BrianLlama.