Twitter: Let's get this party started

January 27, 2010

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Twitter. A-holes. Silly bird and cartoon T make me feel compelled to tweet. Too bad Conan's Twitter Tracker is no more; now he can't follow me.

Last year, I posted my position that was not exactly anti-Twitter, but certainly not at all for it, either. I wondered whether it was a fad, and questioned its utility as a worthwhile endeavor on the Internets, where we use the Google and stuff.

Even then, I knew that post was the blogging equivalent of ice-skating uphill and revealing myself as an out-of-touch fuddy-duddy.

I think that column reveals more about me personally than about the Way We Live Now. I also think that it's time to backtrack and take advantage of The Way We Live Now, rather than fighting it merely because it allows me to be a quieter and less plugged-in procrastinator. I should opt to be a noisier and more technologically dependent procrastinator.

Twitter, of course, represents a format of brevity and here's-what-I'm-thinking-right-now. I've always assumed that people don't particularly care what I'm thinking right now and would rather wait until I have a more comprehensive and organized collections of written-down thoughts that can be consumed over the course of 10 minutes rather than five seconds. You know, something that would necessitate — oh, I don't know — at the very least 200 words, and more likely my more typical 2,000.

What I've come to realize — aside from the fact that someone who doesn't maintain a Twitter feed is an out-of-touch fuddy-duddy — is that the format of brevity is something that can be used to facilitate additional content from someone like me who tends to be a procrastinator. It can be my friend rather than my enemy.

You see, between my job and my personal life and the amount of content I consume on television and online, I find it hard to be the timely and consistent blogger/reviewer that I'd truthfully like to be (it's just one more thing on my plate, which I'm constantly trying to clear) and for a long time Twitter seemed not only semi-pointless because it represents the sort of brevity that I'm absolutely not known for, but also because unleashing it upon myself would be just one more beast to feed in a never-ending array of content platforms — in addition to having to justify myself to the "where are the TNG reviews" crowd, which includes among its chief members, me, myself, and I. (The TNG reviews are coming this year after I reset my schedule, I promise...)

What I think I've been convincing myself of over the past few months is that because of its brevity, Twitter is the sort of venture that might work for me, because I can just dash off a thought and put it out there into the ether for others to consume, hopefully sparking a conversation. I need not be so deliberate for that. Deliberation is for blogs, which is a statement that should be read with extreme sarcastic irony, since blogs were by definition — when they were invented — what Twitter and Facebook status updates are now. Now blogs represent the place where in-depth writing (sometimes) happens. What a difference a decade makes.

So, the Jammer's Blog & Reviews Twitter feed is now officially launched. Start following me at once. Because if you don't, you are obviously as out of touch as the former me. The former me that I no longer am, because I'm TWEETING, dammit!

I think I see some possibilities here, like the notion of "micro-reviews" for whatever content passes before my eyes on a given day, if I feel the need to comment. Or perhaps even if I don't. The pure ease of updating with a platform like Twitter means that I can be sitting on the couch, see something I love/hate/am neutral on, and can decide to pull out the cell phone and send a text update to Twitter with whatever stream-of-pointlessness exists in my mind.

Will it be worthwhile? At this point, I can't say. But I'm going to give it a try.

One thing is for certain: My fiancee is going to LOVE this! Text updates from the couch to my Twitter followers? Awesome! Now that's the sort of person you want to be engaged to. Me! On Twitter!

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14 comments on this post

    Still waiting for those couch updates from your mobile. So far all your tweets were web-originated. :D

    Yep, I know how you feel. I was against Twitter, then my friend (who, ironically, doesn't use it too much) sent me an invite to sign up. Now, I check every day.

    Essencially, though, I must say, One of us! One of us! One of us!

    You also get to tweet, when a review goes live as well, if you didn't figure that out, and why wouldn't you, you're One of us! One of us! One of us!

    Consider yourself followed. Am looking forward to what a usually very insightful chap like yourself can do with the medium.

    I don't think I'll ever tweet--I don't even own a cell phone! (For which I get endless grief from people who insist I be reachable at any hour. I don't WANT to be reachable at any hour!)

    But I really wanted to comment on the TNG thing. I am one of the crowd of "where are the reviews?", though I think of myself more as one of the "boy, it sure will be fun to see what Jammer has to say about this!" crowd. No hurry--I know you have a life. It doesn't take long to read them--but I know it takes long to write them.

    While reading this post, I started wondering about how you feel about that. There is a not inconsiderable number of people who are bated breathlessly waiting for what you have to say about a TV show that ended over a decade ago! I'd like to think it's flattering to you, rather than an irritation. And doesn't show that we are a bunch of hopeless geeks.

    (btw, my autospell thinks "Jammer" should be Hammer, Yammer, or Jammie)

    I'm not sure its really a matter of fuddy duddy or not. Isn't there a basic question here that just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do it. Isn't there some value to lessening the amount of noise floating around. And I know that I could choose not to subscribe to the twitter feed. But that doens't really help to limit the volume of media and cyberspace noise out there. I guess I ask this because I'm about to be a new father and these are things i'm going to have to start considering. When should I allow TV and how much? When should I allow internet access and how much? When should I allow cell phone access and how much?

    Brave words. I've heard them before, from millions of species across countless worlds. Now they are all Borg.

    Wade - noble words indeed, but you'll probably find that your kids' social circles will undermine a lot of what you are trying to do. Our first born never was allowed any screen-time at home, but he ended up knowing all about the characters on TV shows just from outside exposure. Our second born, who was a born technophile, trained us to teach responsible use. Once he learned to climb, nothing could keep him away from the devices he knew mom and dad used, and he kept breaking them. Once we taught him how to use them properly (at 18 months), he never broke anything again. Kids know that there are different rules in different places, and so we set reasonable limits on what was allowed at home. All TV, computer and other electronic use takes place in public space. When they were little, I watched TV shows with them - and I had to like the show or see the benefit of the show. We started out exclusively with PBS (at home). (Note, we never watched TV news with them when they were little - they still heard about horrible things through their classmates, but didn't have to see it first hand). We discuss the shows they watch, the commercials, the shows we watch, etc. Now that they are teenagers, there is a lot of overlap between what they watch and what we watch, which is a lot of fun. Now they watch the news with us, and have interesting things to say about it. We talk about what we do on line, we express interest in what they find on line (xkcd rocks - and it gives an entre to talk about that cringe inducing relationship/sexual stuff that is so hard to bring up when they are teenagers). Good luck

    knitpicker - Thanks for the feedback. Don't you just love how kids can turn your world upside down. Up until a few months ago, I had this foolish notion that I had this whole thing called life down pat. Now I realize how clueless I am. I'm still looking for that instruction manual on how to raise kids. We have some neighbors with their first newborn who are not allowing any screen time for the first few years. I lean a little that way, but at the same time I think it's really everything in moderation and strict control over what the content. I'm thinking of an old TV not hooked into cable and only with a DVD player that has some PBS and kids shows. We'll see.

    Back to the twitter feed bit. I find it a nice release to disconnect online conversations after leaving the office. Much like many people, my day is filled with chats, virtual meetings, and online projects. Its enough to make me thrilled with my 45 min train ride home with just a book and no distractions. Speaking of that, with all these twitter feeds that people glancing at, are we harming out ability to concentrate and perform at our best?

    Wade - I was raised, long ago, without any access to TV. When I became independent, I spent years glued to the tube. Fortunately, I've "recovered" and have returned to reading. (Read to your kids! Read for pleasure when your kids are around! probably more important that restricting TV). Of course, the real lesson is that what works for one, doesn't work for another (kids, parents, families, etc.).

    I like email. I have no interest in the random chatter of networking sites. It reminds me of someone I know who compulsively checks voice mail about ever 20 minutes. When I lived alone, the TV provided an artificial sense of social contact, I think that's what all the networking sites do - they provide an artificial sense of social engagement. Just like responding to Jammer's comments gives me an illusion of social engagement with Jammer. I am invested from spending so much time reading his comments, but it isn't really what you would call a relationship. Pathetically enough, I probably know him better than many of my immediate neighbors. Gotta get a dog - they all bond through walking their dogs rather than through their kids. Their kids are all busy with "activities."

    I'm still not sold on Twitter's usefulness. That might put me as out of touch. So be it, at least for now.

    If you ever intend to put micro-reviews within the unfair limit of 140 characters, here's some advice:

    Don't write "worst episode ever" as your micro-review phrase. It may have worked as satire for Comic Book Guy, but it would kill the review.

    The TNG comment made my harken back to how long it's been... remember this "My hope (no promises) is to have all of TNG done by December 31, 2007. "

    Haha not complaining just think its funny.

    Welcome to twitter... I too thought it was silly at first but I now use to follow people, though I still don't post anything myself.

    I'm actually just baffled by 'Twitter'. I mean, I understand it, but the appeal escapes me. I'm too young to be feeling 'fuddy duddy', but it all seems like more context-free digital hash thrown out there in an increasing series of locked in Web 2.0 designs. If the Borg ever show up, they'll find a populace that's already along into the assimilation process.

    Weird, in all of 'Star Trek', I can't recall a character texting or tweeting another. They all...talked...

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