Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Just Can’t Tweet

I’ve tried. I’ve made an account and stared at my home page. I notice what I’m doing: nothing. I consider writing something, but nothing comes to mind. I look at the little group that I follow. Four tiny boxes, only two of whom actually Tweet. I have seven people following me, and whenever I see that number, I feel like I’m letting someone down.

I’ve watched the tutorial and I’ve read the instructions. A friend I respect a lot is a Twitter devotee. She’s tried to mentor me in, but I resist.

There have been lots of articles written about Twitter. The one that caught my attention was by a journalist who claims that Twitter made him a better writer. That having to write in a short little bursts – 140 characters per post is the limit – forced him to choose his words more carefully. That makes sense to me. I think we all can benefit from a bit of succinctitude. In fact, I’m limiting every sentence in this post to 140 characters (including spaces) as my own personal tribute to brevity.

Still, I can’t tweet.

I have a friend – an award-winning magazine writer – who credits his career success to his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His pieces are character driven and soulful and unusually crafted. The Iowa program is an impressive credential. Will Twitter, years from now, carry that kind of prestige? Will any writer worth his salt be “classically Twitter-trained?”

I don’t want Tweets sent to my cell phone and Twitter says it can’t access any of my friends because my e-mail is AOL. Certainly those things take a lot of the fun out of it. But besides that, nothing about Twitter seems inviting. FaceBook feels to me like walking into a big, bright party. You never know who you’re going to run into, or what they’re going to say. Twitter feels like work, but I can’t really put my finger on why.

Maybe someday I’ll eat these characters. All 1,962 of them (including spaces). But for now, I just don’t tweet.


  1. I think it's fine that you can't tweet, although I feel about Twitter the way you feel about Facebook. I'm not a fan of parties in general, but Twitter is a party or workspace where I can have one-on-one conversations and that's what I usually do when I can't come up with an excuse to avoid a party invitation: Find someone and talk to them for a while. There's noise, just as there would be at a big party, and some of it's annoying. There are people who talk about lunch and their pets, just as there are in real life. Sometimes (very occasionally) those tweets are interesting. Mostly, they're not and mostly I don't follow those people (unless I know and like them anyway). There are self-aggrandizers galore, but some of them are interesting enough to keep following. For me, Twitter is an amazing repository of information, a kind of live-action encyclopedia, full of news, information, crayons, geekdom, politics. I also like the challenge of the 140 character bursts and I to try get my point across without resorting to text-y abbreviations like 2 for to or too, etc. But I don't think it matters that you can't or don't want to tweet. Just don't do it. Love, Cameron

  2. not long after i joined facebook, i was told by a more internet savvy person, "you should twitter too". well, i barely know what i'm doing on FB, so this seemed daunting. plus, there's only so many hours in the day and i'm finding i'm already over-limit on my total computer time. i should be making dolls instead!!! then to top it off, i mentioned twitter to my apple trainer, and he said, No, you're not ready for twitter.

  3. I'm thinking about a time when radio was all there was. No TV, no Internet. There was plenty to listen to and you could do it while you were cooking dinner, sewing a quilt or building a birdhouse. I think we got more done then with a lot less "communication."

    Is there really that much to say that we have to be constantly sending out information? This blog is the exception, of course.