Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

If I had a dime for each time someone asked “what’s the point of Twitter, anyway?”, I’d have $3.20 cents.

There’s a possibility I once asked that question myself.  I mean, how much can you really say in 140 characters?  And what’s the point in reading such pithy offerings?  They’re not novels, and you can’t build characters.

People so often dismiss Twitter because of all of the above and more.  Add to that comments like “do I really need to know about how awesome your dinner is?  Do I want to read about what cute thing your son did today?”

The answer to all of that is obvious: no.  No, I don’t need or want to know about any of that.

Ihaveadream

Despite these objections, I’ve been a long time user and reader of Twitter.  Since I’ve had to explain my fascination so many times, it seemed a good idea to blog about it at least once.  That way I can just cut and paste the blog link whenever yet another person says “Twitter?  Can’t stand it (even though I’ve never used it or even read anything from it).  Why would you waste your time?”

oatmeal

One thing you learn when communicating in your workplace is to make sure your main point is contained within the first few lines of your email.  People don’t want to have to wade through paragraphs of pre-explanation prior to getting to the point of your message.  This is especially true if you want something from your reader.

You can start with something like “I would like you to come in early on Friday to help with the TPS report”.  You can then feel free to use a few paragraphs to explain why.  They’re free to read it or not as they see fit.

The neat thing is, if they want to say “no”, they’ll have to read through the rest so that they can better understand the request, and build up a compelling reason to decline.

manscape

You are used to hearing the phrase “information overload”.  There are so many sales pitches, requests for help, and offers to help you enlarge your penis or get bigger breasts (not to mention family and friends forwarding messages with the title “HAHAHA CHECK THIS OUT, BRO!”), that it’s hard to track.  And it’s definitely hard to keep focus.  Almost everyone suffers from this, thus the need to get straight to the point while sending emails at work.

FridayFreak

Twitter doesn’t offer explanation.  There’s just simply no room.  So you’re left making your point as concisely as possible.

boss

Frankly, with all of the serious news coming out of the internet, I don’t enjoy doing anything serious while on my own time.  I rarely write serious stuff on my Facebook wall.  And I certainly don’t want to engage in serious Twitter posts.

My secret for using Twitter is: I generally only follow funny people.  People with the funniest tweets interest me, especially as they don’t have the room to do a full setup of the joke.  I like that. I think it shows a superior wit.  And so I not only read them, but try to emulate them as well – using my own jokes of course.

ladybonerSometimes I fail miserably, but that’s okay too.  It’s just so much fun to try.

As you begin reading some of these people (and dropping the more serious Twitter feeds), you learn a few tricks along the way too.  Such as: find out who these funny people are following.  Generally, they’re interested in reading other humorous people.  Eventually as you begin following those too, you can build up an impressive list of hilarious comedians who make Twitter a truly engaging and fun place to be.

Like this guy:

wantedadaughter

This isn’t to say that I don’t (ab)use Twitter for my own non-funny reasons either.

booze

It’s a great place to posts links to my reviews for Criminal Minds and NCIS.  But mostly I like laughing, and at the middle of a stressful day, it’s great to have access to so many truly fun and funny people.

P.S. I don’t really drink while on the job.  At least, not from a flask. (And not because it doesn’t hold enough, either)

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.