Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What Twitter is For

So I’ve been on twitter for a few months now, and I’ve observed a few things.

1. Twitter is for paying attention to celebrities.
Twitter is an interesting website where celebrities share things with their fans, and their fans have a chance to interact with their favorite famous people. Before twitter, people sent letters or emails to their favorite actors, singers, and authors, but there was no way for the fan to know whether their words were ever read, or if the person they idolized spared some time to pay attention to them. On twitter, famous people can acknowledge their fans by favoriting their tweets, retweeting them, or even responding directly to them. As a fan, I can say that this is one of the coolest things ever. Meeting one of my favorite artists in person would be cool, but would also come with the awkwardness of real life: “I think you are really neat and your drawings are nice, and... I’ll... go now.” Twitter takes the awkwardness out of that experience, because on the internet you can say something stupid and it’s okay, because it’s not like you said it to someone’s face.

2. Twitter is for realizing that celebrities are actual people.
Nothing makes you more human than complaining, and twitter is for complaining. When you see your favorite celebrities complaining about their pets, how much their car insurance costs, and about how they can’t get their roommates to turn their music down, it helps you realize that this person that you’ve put on a pedestal doesn’t necessarily live up there all the time. Celebrities have real lives because they are humans just like their fans. Twitter is a good place to realize this because you can tweet at anyone you follow, whether it’s your mom or the CEO of a multinational technology company. And pretty much everyone complains on twitter at one time or another. It’s how we know they’re human.

3. Twitter is for promotion.
For lots of people, twitter is a place to promote their activities and their causes. Authors tweet dates and places for their book signings, musicians tweet the release dates for their new albums, and cartoonists tweet the places and times of fan conventions where they plan to exhibit and sell their work.

4. Twitter is a place to network, and develop new friendships with kindred spirits.
I’m not sure why I didn’t expect to meet a whole bunch of writers just like myself on twitter, but I should have. I started following a hilarious blogger, began giggling with someone else who was following her, and pretty soon I had a whole bunch of new writer friends, a club to hang out and write with on Friday nights, and lots of new blogs to read.

5. Twitter is a place to incessantly spew your opinions out onto the internet.
There are many places online to incessantly spew your opinions out onto the internet, but twitter is nice because it limits opinion spewing to 140 characters. Any subsequent agreement or argument is also limited in its length, so that sometimes makes triumphal parades or flame wars shorter by necessity.

6. Twitter is for cat pictures.
It’s on the internet. The internet is for cat pictures.

Twitter is many different things, and I’m sure other people use it a lot differently than I do. There are some people whose only goal on twitter is to get as many followers as possible, not for them to enjoy what they tweet, but just for the good feeling that comes with having five hundred followers. There are people who use twitter just to interact with their real world friends. And there are others who use it simply to pay attention to as many celebrities as possible. All of these are valid ways to use twitter, and there are tons of people who love it and use it all day, every day.
I find that I don’t hate using twitter as much as I thought I would. It is fun to follow people you think are cool because of their work. I mostly follow webcomic creators and cartoonists, and since a lot of those people know each other, it’s fun to watch them interact and sometimes to jump in and interact with them.
Twitter may be one of the noisiest websites on the internet, but it’s a lot quieter if you trim down the amount of people you’re allowing to shout at you. And it’s the only place that you can snark with your favorite celebrities and know that you’re making them smile. You can meet new people and make new friends. You can let your three fans know about your newest project. And since it is on the internet, you can complain about your roommates leaving their laundry in the dryer for days, and even post a picture of your cat sitting on top of the dryer in question.
Twitter is pretty fun.

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