Once I got over my initial hatred of twitter, I came to the realization it required a level of discipline that many have never known, and certainly never demonstrated. And that allows others to recognize them for what they are.
Some twitterers post their message in serial twits, taking three or six twits to make a single point. They miss the point of twitter. They refuse to accept the nature of a twit, limited by 140 characters, and insist on using every word in their arsenal no matter how many twits it takes. These are often the same folks who find the 3000 word limit on comments intolerably limiting.
Some twitterers use abbreviations to cut down on characters, such as “U” for “you”. This is perfectly acceptable if you remain below the age of majority, but for twitterers of a certain age, it’s about as intellectually satisfying as a faux leopard-skin miniskirt. They may not say so, but serious people laugh at you. No, they really do.
Some twitterers send out twits that just don’t make much sense. Sometimes it’s because the end of their thought is cut off. Other times it’s because they, well, just don’t make much sense for organic reasons.
But that was years ago. Six years ago to be more precise. Certainly, people would adapt, learn, grow, gain a level of competence in their use of a social medium that would enable them not to make n00b mistakes that marked them as blithering idiots, right? They would accommodate the demands of the medium.
But twitter is cruel. It only allows 140 characters, no matter who you are or what your reason for wanting more. You can’t argue with it, cajole it, implore it, beg it. It doesn’t care. It’s 140 characters max.
So you learn to express whatever it is you need to express within the intrinsic limits of the twitters. But there was another, more insidious problem lurking behind the twits, and one that has become so ubiquitous that it can no longer remain the dirty little secret of twitter.
A twit, for whatever reason, gets retwitted by a great many people. And someone, an egg-type twitterer you invariably don’t know, eventually sees the twit through twelve degrees of separation, and feels compelled to send the original twitterer an @ reply.
@ScottGreenfield Well maybe, but I feel that it isn’t.
This wasn’t a twit sent to you, egg-boy. There was no @EggBoy in the beginning. That you somehow eventually came to see it is merely fortuitous. Or perhaps not fortuitous at all. The point is that it was not a missive from me to you. And yet, you not only feel compelled to engage back, across those twelve degrees of separation, but with someone who wouldn’t know you if he fell over you.
Your twitter bio says, “maybe not the biggest EggBoy, but the smartest EggBoy You’ll Ever MEET!!!” Very witty, but uninformative. Are you a lawyer? Have you achieved puberty? There is nothing about your presence on twitter that would inform me.
But what you are is a narcissist. No, it doesn’t say so in your bio, but you’ve told me so by informing me of your feelings. But for the fact that I don’t want to be rude, I would respond, “who gives a fuck what you feel?” I would prefer not to do that.
Maybe there is yet another problem in your @ response to a twit that had nothing to do with you. It involved, for example, an issue of law requiring some degree of knowledge and experience, and to anyone possessed of that knowledge and experience, your “I feel that it isn’t” is just incomprehensibly dumb. I mean, as in no one capable of breathing could possibly dispute such a basic, well-understood premise. Yet you did.
Why? What makes you feel as if every other person on twitter has some interest, no matter how small, in knowing your feelings? What makes you feel as if a twit directed outward to everyone was somehow begging for your @ reply? What makes you feel as if anyone, anywhere, ever, gives a damn about what you, the @EggBoy, feelz?
And the oddest part of all this is that I have to restrain myself so that I don’t respond to you in a mean and condescending way, simply because you’re a blithering idiot and narcissist. You see, my reactions were honed at a time when one naturally responded to someone who spoke to you. The idea of being face to face with another human being, who asked a question, and simply ignoring them, turning and walking away, was unthinkable. That was not what nice people did.
But I now fight the urge. I do not reply. I will not tell you that there is a reason you have only three and half bot followers on twitter. I will not inform you that your twit was stupid, or more likely, incomprehensible. A lot of twits are incomprehensible, especially when someone is trying to be snarky and you have no clue who they are, and no measure by which to determine whether they’re serious or sarcastic.
Instead, I will just ignore you. I will shrug and move on. I will not reply to you, and in the instant I pass your twit, I will forget you existed. Unless you annoy me, and then all bets are off. I’m only human.