Gone in 140 characters or less.

I’ve never gotten into the whole Twitter fad.

I’m reluctant to make grand, superior-sounding statements like that, because something’s bound to happen that results in me not only being utterly obsessed with Twitter, but probably working for them and writing blog posts entitled “How Tweeting Saved My Life” and so on, which would make this original opinion something of an embarrassment to me. I don’t see it happening, though, so I’ll continue with my musing.

Twitter, for those of you who are unaware of the concept (how?!), is yet another method of sharing every detail of your life with the general public – which I tend to enjoy doing, being a personal blogger and all, so you’d think that I’d be quite into Twitter. You type in a little announcement in less than 140 characters, and it gets published on t’internet. This process is known as “tweeting”. The little messages are called “tweets”. And people can sign up to “follow” your “tweets” if you are an interesting “twitterer” or if they actually know you or something.

This all seems a little bit similar to Facebook status updates, as far as I can make out. However, it gets more complicated than that because people can reply to your “tweets” – and, you know, this is the bit where I accept the fact that I must be an utter dunce, because I can’t fathom it at all. It’s not like having a private conversation, because your “tweets” and the other person’s “tweets” are shown separately. What I mean is, everyone’s “tweets” stay on their own page. So if you were, say, snooping around and trying to figure out how this Twitter thing works, you’d have great difficulty in following any of the conversations, because you have to keep clicking on the name of the person being replied to, in order to find out what they originally said, and then basically do a lot of clicking back and forth to read the conversation backwards. I can’t figure out how it would work, forwards, unless you and all your Twitter associates were following all of the same people and could therefore see all sides of the conversation.

This annoys me quite considerably.

I like things like this to be easy, uncomplicated, convenient and enjoyable. Half an hour of clicking around with Twitter, and I gave up in complete irritation. I prefer Facebook status updates, because they’re just there and if someone wants to reply to what you’ve said, they’ll do so on your page and it will appear for everyone to read right below the original status update. It would make no sense whatsoever if they replied on their own page, even if they did put your name at the start to show that it was addressed to you. You’d have to go back and forth and back and forth if you wanted to read the conversation. It would be annoying.

There’s also the fact that as a writer, I can’t help seeing Twitter as a bit of a thief. It steals blog material. Snatches it from your hands, chews it up, spits it out and belches. Let’s say I’m a Twitter addict, and I keep everyone informed of what’s going on in my life as it happens, in a series of short messages. It might look something like this:

Fell over a loose paving stone and landed in a pile of slush with my shopping all around me. Very embarrassing.

Went out for dinner – tried to order in the local language and ended up eating fried rabbit paws in peanut butter sauce.

Realised at the supermarket checkout that I didn’t have enough money. Cashier didn’t speak English. Lots of confusion.

Going to bed now – have just stubbed my toe and banged my head both at the same time. Woe.

Do you see the problem? Those are the little things that happen to me on a daily basis, and they are just being thrown away in short comments. To me, each one of those things could be padded out to make a lengthy and hopefully entertaining blog post, which in turn might trigger another one, and possibly lead to inspiration for a novel and a screenplay based on said novel, and ultimately a multi Oscar award winning movie starring me in the lead role. And yet there they are… gone in 140 characters or less. You can’t exaggerate sufficiently in 140 characters, nor can you work in some witty comments and insightful remarks, nor can you create suspense and tension and a general sense of melodrama.

I can’t be a Twitterer. I simply cannot be concise. I was never able to send text messages on my phone for the same reason – they all ended up being four times as long as they were meant to be, and thus costing me four times as much to send.

It takes me 140 paragraphs to tell a story in my own, rambling way, not 140 characters.

I hereby formally reject Twitter and  choose blogging. Hurrah! I feel relieved to have reached a verdict at last, even when it seems to be going against the majority opinion. Look at me, see how I grow in backbone and confidence…

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2 thoughts on “Gone in 140 characters or less.

  1. I’m with you! (If this was a “tweet,” that would be it, but I am not concise either.) I got no less than 3 posts in my google reader one day last week about this or that blogger who is now on twitter. I was afraid it was soon going to become mandatory – glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to start! :)

    Plus, am I supposed to get a scmancy new phone so I can stay connected at absolutely all hours of the day and night, getting it covered in ganache so I can let the world know that I think this batch is a little too grainy or whatever. Am I supposed to ignore my dining companions in favor of telling random strangers on the internet that the foie gras is literally melting in my mouth as I type?

    Sorry, don’t mean to write a comment as long as your post. Sometimes I get carried away.

  2. No need to apologise, I love to read long comments! And I’m telling you, if I’m ever out with a group of people for dinner and one of them is more interested in twittering via the phone than in the people at the table, there will be issues!!

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