The Demise of the Western Empire – Twittered Away to Nothing

Posted: September 2, 2010 in humor, Life
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When Twitter first made an appearance, I thought:  “big deal.  You can only write 140 characters.  It is even possible to say anything meaningful in such a short space?”

Apparently, given the popularity of this social networking tool – it is.  Having such a tiny space in which to share stuff has provoked a lot of creativity.   I’ve subscribed to a lot of humor writers, both professional and hobbyist, and when there’s not enough time to read a chapter in a book, I’ll flip over to Twitter to read the latest stuff. 

The latest craze on Twitter:  people who have portrayed themselves as TV show characters, all interacting with each other.  Notably, the series “Mad Men” and “True Blood”.   So satisfying to see that they’ve actually managed to stay true to their characters too.   “Mad Men” of course is a little more grown up than “True Blood” but both shows are entertaining.  And this open character interaction on Twitter makes it seem as though another episode is playing, right before your eyes.

The best part is that you as a regular Tweeter (Twitterer?) can interact with them, sometimes with unexpected results.

The irony of characters from the early 1960’s using 2008-2010 technology to talk with each other doesn’t escape anyone either.  Still, they manage to stay true, and it’s as if they’re actually talking with each other over the phone, and not via the computer.

Take this one exchange, between myself and one of the Mad Men characters, named Rebecca Pryce (played by that gorgeous  actress Embeth Davidtz):

Rebecca_Pryce:  “Oh, sometimes I loathe dining all by myself. But I shan’t indulge on self-pity.”
– via Twitter for BlackBerry®

(Noticing that she had posted it from her Blackberry, I thought it would be neat to note it, without noting it.  By pretending she was talking about the fruit, not the messaging device)

Wolfshades:  “@Rebecca_Pryce I love how you say ‘shan’t’.  Noticed the ‘Blackberry’ thing too.  Aren’t they delicious?”

Rebecca_Pryce: “@wolfshades God, yes. And terribly practical to boot! With this handheld thingy I can be connected anywhere! Even the tube! It’s fabulous!”

——————-

And so just like any good improv sketch, she turned something I intended into something completely different.  A grown man saying that any kind of electronic device was “delicious” …..well you know how it goes.  Don Draper would have surmised that I was “light in the loafers”, probably.

Still, it was hard not to laugh.   

There is one character on Mad Men who is just as funny on the show as her fan-created character is on Twitter (or vice versa).  She’s a crusty old broad, Miss Blankenship – known as MissB_SCDP on Twitter –  who is very set in her ways.  Although she works for Don Draper, it’s hard to tell who’s the alpha in that relationship.   I’m frankly at a loss to describe her.  She seems to defy explanation.  She’s abrupt, completely oblivious to subtle nuances (I don’t even think she knows the meaning of the word “subtle”) and is likely to blurt out your worst secret to the entire staff.  Innocently, of course (or is it?).

You can lose yourself for hours, visiting all of these tweets.   Twitter turned out to be much more entertaining than I thought it could ever be.  It helps too that you can put in web page links to your posts – thereby cheating the 140 character rule.

And then there’s Facebook.  And its necessary companions:  Failblog (http://failblog.org) and Failbooking (http://failbooking.com).  The latter contains posts that were made on Facebook that probably should have been set to “private” – or better yet, not posted at all.  Failblog contains photos that portray life failures.  Today, I posted a couple of these to my Facebook account:

Now I ask you:  is this the work of a zealous but incompetent store owner?  Or is the final act of a desperately bitter clerk, on the last day of his job?

And then there’s this one.   I looked at it at first in horror.   Then I realized what the intent was, and couldn’t help thinking about how absolutely stunning a failure it was.   For those who care: it’s a dental aid, designed to assist children in understanding how their teeth work, and what it takes to keep them healthy.

I’d like to congratulate any child who would not run away, screaming its fool head off after seeing this one.

(P.S. Credit where credit is due:  both pics are hosted at http://failblog.com – as you no doubt guessed from the caption in the bottom left corner of each pic.  You should read some of the reactions there too)

Both sites are listed in my “Funny” blogroll list to the right.   Be warned: they can suck away all of your spare time if you aren’t careful.

Comments
  1. The whole social network thing has pretty much lost it’s appeal for me except as a vehicle to stay in touch with family and friends. I used to love interacting with comedy clubs, comedians and musicians on myspace and once had a hysterical, hours long, middle of the night exchange with a well known comedian who must have been bored out of his mind. But I’ve moved completely away from it.

    Not all that long ago, I spent hours a day blogging and answering hundreds of blog comments on myspace. I got tired of that too. I tried Twitter briefly after I left myspace- gave it a week – because the brevity of it appealed to me but, no, it didn’t grab me at all. I have lots more time now that I’ve left it all behind. I do write and read the very occasional blog but that’s it when it comes to my on-lineness.

    I love the $0 savings and poor smiling bear who’s about to be strangled. Totally made me smile. :0)

    Like

    • Honestly, I have no use for Twitter as it first envisioned. No interest in letting people know what I’m doing every second of the day. No interest in reading others’ minute by minute minutiae either. The only reason I’m on there is for the humour and entertainment. And because I’m following a few authors who’ve intrigued me a bit.

      The entertainment value was an unexpected bonus actually. I stopped using twitter for a number of months until I ran into a few hilarious tweeters. So….after culling through all of the tweeters who had nothing to say, it became a laugh-a-minute for me.

      I’m still on Myspace, but only to read a few blogs and to post links to my blogs here from there. Have you been on there recently? The way they’ve arranged their pages has become a nightmare. You can’t easily get to your subscribed list of blogs anymore. Clearly, those who run the place view blogs and bloggers as optional, discretionary non-value-added limbs to Myspace.

      You saw the bear about to be strangled?? I saw the bear getting ready to take a big honkin’ cheerful bite out of the next thing it saw. Amazing how perspectives differ huh? :)

      Like

  2. Molly Malone says:

    I don’t think that that teddy bear is limited to scaring the bejeesus out of just kids… If I walked into the dentist and saw that thing sitting in the chair, I think I would need a new pair of pants pretty damn sharpish…

    Like

  3. Just Me says:

    Social Networks……..

    Sometimes fun, sometimes a pain in the ass. Do I really need to be that connected to EVERYONE all the time? Isn’t having a cell phone enough anymore? Can I get no peace? Unfortunately, for me they are a necessary evil with the industry that I work in. Failblog/Failbooking are both pretty freaking hilarious if you’re stopping by for an occasional visit.

    With respect to Twitter, am I the only one who feels the urge to use the entire 140 characters every time I tweet? It’s something about them limiting me that makes me want to use every last character. I might only be saying “Good Morning” but I feel the need to stretch that out for some odd reason….

    Like

    • *nodding* Yup. I think you’re possibly the only one. :) I sometimes go over, and have to get inventive in order to find a way to make it all fit. But I never purposely try to get to the end.

      I think your rhetorical question at the beginning still deserves an answer. And that would be a resounding NO!!. None of us have to be that connected. I’m not, that’s for sure. It’s nice to have those connections, and to say something once in a while but I can tell you right now that I would not feel the least bit sad or hesitant if at some point I ended up deleting all of my accounts. I’ve done it before with Facebook – back when I gained a few stalkers. Didn’t bother me in the least.

      Like

  4. planet jeff says:

    I’ve never been on twitter, wouldn’t even know how to get there and have never seen an episode of Mad Men or True Blood and I’ve never used a blackberry. Should I just kill myself now or wait for old age to take me? Didn’t I see that Teddy Bear in a Tim Burton flick? Jeez.

    Like

    • Wow. Do you have a TV, Jeff? *grin*

      Seriously – I don’t like much of what’s on there, except – right now – for those two shows. There are two other shows which, once they come back on, I’ll watch religiously (which is to say, with a lot of candles and chanting, and flowing robes and stuff): Californication and Dexter. Most of regular network TV is boring. And reality TV – for me, anyway – bites the Big One.

      I’m guessing that Teddy Bear might be a good tool for unruly kids. Especially for kids who won’t settle down at night. Just put that thing in the room with them and watch them get all quiet-like.

      Of course, they’ll become incurable insomniacs as well but…..

      Like

  5. redriverpak says:

    Glad I didn’t see that Teddy Bear when I was a kid! :)

    Like

  6. Yah, we have bears just like that out here .. they’re called Grizzlies .. they’ll show you how their teeth work ..

    Have a good weekend!

    Like

    • I’ve seen a few actual bears in the wild myself. Including one that sauntered by a friend’s dining room window on his way to point B (from wherever “A” was). I’m told they actually don’t smile at all, unless they’re getting ready to munch on you.

      Like

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