The devil must have made me do it. Or, the Grand Lord of Why Not? Because a mere three days ago I had blogified about how Twitter didn't interest me.
And now I have a Twitter page. An Emerson quote comes to mind:
What turned the corner on tweeting for me was a moment when, in the course of pondering the pros and cons of opening a Twitter account, and thinking "this craze is useless," I realized:
Yes! That's the point! Uselessness!
Such was one of the themes in my "The Tao of Paris Hilton" post, the popularity of which made it possible for this blog to surpass a million page views in a relatively short time. (Tip: to generate web traffic, put up photos of semi-naked famous female cultural icons.)
Once I appreciated the Taoist beauty of Twitter's uselessness, where most communications are 140 characters of less of inanity, my fingers raced to the sign-up page.
I worry about what I say on my blog posts. I try to make sense in my email messages. But with Twitter... fuck it! How wrong can I go in 140 characters? Plus, who's going to read my crappy tweets anyway?
At the moment, hardly anyone. So my first goal is to attract some followers.
This is one of the things I like about Twitter. On other social networking sites you have friends. With Twitter, you have followers. Cool. (Even better would be "acolytes," or "fawning admirers.")
At the moment my following is precisely zero. If you're concerned about the state of my fragile ego, as you should be, head to my Twitter page and click on "Follow."
Don't worry about whether there is any good reason to do this. There isn't. Remember the mantra: uselessness. Gaining a follower will make me feel better, and it won't make you feel worse.
Otherwise, I'm not promising much from this whole Twitter thing. Basically, it's fun -- another opportunity for me to play with my iPhone.
It's a kick to be able to take a photo and easily have Tweetie upload a compressed version to Twitpic, and embed a URL in my tweet. I also like watching the 140 character counter count down as I one-finger type an iPhone tweet, putting a stopper on my usual writing verbosity.
Since ego-loss isn't one of my personality characteristics, I've done some research into how to gain Twitter followers.
Given that I have no idea what purpose Twitter serves in the cosmic scheme of things, it was encouraging to read:
First off, Paris Hilton is my second cousin. Seemingly this should gain me some reflected Twitter glory. OK, not much. But since I have zero followers at the moment, my Twitter trajectory can only go up.
Second, I've written a best-selling book about Plotinus. Granted, it is only "best-selling" in comparison to other books about a Greek mystic philosopher hardly anybody has heard about. But there's got to be some author-groupies who would be delighted to find a tweet from me sailing onto their cell phones.
Third, I'm a blogger. So I'm hoping that at least a few of those who visit my HinesSight and Church of the Churchless blogs will take pity on my follower-less soul and click on that Follow button.
I promise to tweet some family dog photos. And when I next see my granddaughter, for sure some super-cute two year old photos.
Along with a whole lot of uselessness -- the main draw for Twitter followers.
I feel your pain, Brian.
I'm sick of the cold and rain also.
I just picked up 330 gallons of syrup to feed the bees (because of $#!ttY weather) and have 55 queens in a queen bank.
No time for uselessness.
I gain much pleasure from a meaningful, useful life.
Maybe you are stuck in the rut I once suffered: usefulness was weather dependant.
That REALLY SUCKS!
It all gets down to planning.
If you are a one man band like I am, you have to plan in layers.
Tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.
HOWEVER, the plans are mearly an outline.
I have learned from you, and am very grateful for the lesson about NO OVERLAYS for a given day or activity. That lesson has had real meaning in my life!
Spring is upon us!
Posted by: Harry Vanderpool | March 24, 2009 at 10:46 PM
Interesting on Paris. I have noticed (not scientifically determined) that the highest number of my google searches have come from pack rats and praying mantises. Is there a connection?
Posted by: Rain | March 25, 2009 at 08:26 AM
I have generally found "followers" and "following" to be difficult to explain or internalize.
But if you just change the verb to "listen", all is better. You have "listeners" and you are "listening"...
Posted by: Kari Chisholm | March 25, 2009 at 09:45 AM
Kari, good point. I like "listening." Of course, with the @ (reply) feature, which I tried out for the first time this morning, a listener can become a talker.
For some reason, a yin-yang counterpoint to my verbosity, probably, I really like typing tweets with one finger on my iPhone, keeping a thought short and simple.
And not worrying about whether I'm pushing a profundity out into cyberspace. Spouting inanities can be relaxing, so long as people can choose whether to be on the receiving end of the downpour.
Posted by: Brian | March 25, 2009 at 10:01 AM
I adamantly refuse to twitter or tweet or whatever it's called. Probably due to some anarchist leanings. I'm generally long-winded and the thought of having to limit myself to no more than 140 characters is terrifying. What if I had an astute point to make but I couldn't make it in any less than 141 characters? Besides, who arbitrarily settle on 140? Why not 78, 6.93 or 4 zillion?
Posted by: The Rambling Taoist | March 30, 2009 at 07:46 PM
I've been told that 140 characters is the max allowed in text messages. But this doesn't answer the "why 140?" question.
I'm using Twitter as a sort of verbosity diet. It's interesting (and tough) for me to say something so briefly. You're right: sometimes I get to the end of a tweet and find that I'm a few characters over my Twitter budget.
I edit a bit, press "send," and have a warm feeling of succinctness.
Posted by: Brian | March 30, 2009 at 07:58 PM