I Wanna Be Like Ashton and Oprah! Don't I?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Wanna Be Like Ashton and Oprah! Don't I?

Let me warn you, this is about Twitter. I know, I know. Another person "talking about Twitter" is hardly unique.

But I’m going to ask you to bear with me just a little longer.

You’ve seen it all over the news. Ashton and Oprah, CNN and Larry King. Jon Stewart mocks it. Members of Congress forget that it’s on the intarwebs and tweet live at the wrong times.

Yeah, everyone’s doing it and everyone’s telling us everyone’s doing it. And why we’re doing it or why it’s going to fail because everyone’s doing it.

Except no one seems to have asked why I do it.

They don’t seem to get that I might not be bummed out by the fact that Oprah’s tweets are slowing down and why headlines like “Celebrities Take Over Twitter, Kick Geeks Aside” are much more bothersome.

Was Twitter a “junior high school popularity contest” until the media decided it was? And why am I left feeling like they decided I was the awkward Goth kid on the far end of the bleachers before I ever got to tell them that I was a Vampire and not Goth?

Oh right. Because they forgot to ask. They got all wrapped up in Britney and Ashton and Oprah mania and forgot to ask every day Twitter users why they use Twitter.

[this is where I deleted a whole mess of stuff]

See that space? That's where I wrote a ton of stuff about how people use Twitter. I’m sure it was great, but I realized it was totally out of place considering my comments above.

So, while I’m hardly a major media outlet and while it’s unlikely this will ever hit the AP, I’ll ask. If only to pull a few more people off the bleachers for a little while.

Tell me why you use Twitter?

I'd really like to know.

15 comments:

  1. This resonates with me. It wasn't until after the recent Oprah/Ashton mess that I started to notice a surge in my followers who, I believe, would have absolutely no reason to read my blips. Wait, you really care about my latest star wars toy purchase? Or, you really want to hear about my dissertation? Highly unlikely. Conversely-- I'm a purist in that i will follow you only because I like what you have to say, or you make me spit out my coffee at 7am.

    It is true--twitter is what you make it based on the people you follow. I choose not to follow Ashton/Oprah right now so the social construction of MY twitter is a little different than say, those who overstuff their tweetdeck with celebs.

    Finally--perhaps those of us who are most offended by the recent takeover are the ones who are used to being ostracized. WE KNOW IT WHEN WE SEE IT. And we no like.

    So, while it is true that no one group OWNS this medium, we sure as hell should speak up so that our voices are heard. Thanks for doing that, Geek Girl Diva.

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  2. Agreed on all counts. Twitter is a tool. And like any tool, it can be an ego-centric way to tell people what you had for breakfast, or it can be used to find people with common interests.

    My analogy: Services like Facebook are for connecting for people you've lost touch with. Twitter is for finding people you didn't know you SHOULD be in touch with.

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  3. I love to blog but sometimes stuff happens that isn't enough to blog, but its funny, creepy, annoying, or crazy enough to tweet about. That way my blog doesn't get multiple personality disorder...its confused enough as is!

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  4. Erm, I use Twitter because it was the only way I could legally follow Stephen Fry. I even got a reply from him once - it brought me more happiness than I ever thought possible.

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  5. I just use it to keep in contact with a bunch of people I dig from the internet! Also as yet another place to get people to pay attention to me, or sound clever.

    (via cleolinda's tweet, btw :) )

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  6. I use it because I'm far too sporadic with my bloggable thoughts to make livejournal entries non-annoying.
    MOSTLY though, because it's fun. I like telling people every thought that floats across my brain and not feeling like I'm the only person that enjoys doing that. People like to tell people about themselves, twitter is a non-intrusive way of doing that.

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  7. So I can sell twitterfics, to be totally honest.

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  8. I'm so glad you wrote this because nobody else is. It drives me nuts seeing all the twitter talk about celebs and "what is twitter?" It's really just what you make of it.

    Twitter is a great tool for networking and keeping up on news, be it the "breaking news" CNN, etc put out or the news that doesn't make it on the major stations (like cool new things from entertainment earth and think geek to Palm and Microsoft.

    I love that I can keep up with what is going on in the tech world. And if somebody isn't a techy, they can keep up in the things they are interested in.

    I also do it for you of course ;)
    -Cassanova/TonyRad1

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  9. As Tony said, Twitter is what you make of it.

    I see it as a global chat room for the world, where anyone can speak up at any time, and people will listen - if their comment is interesting.

    Sure some people use it as a popularity contest, and sure celebrities get more people to listen right off the bat. But that's pretty much the world in general, not just Twitter.

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  10. I use Twitter because:

    1. It's a fun way to find out things that I otherwise would've spent (read wasted) hours digging around the internet to find.

    2. I've found it a great way to meet people I wouldn't have otherwise and to build networks of friends and business associates.

    3. It allows for me, as a blogger, to post short blurbs that don't really contain enough meat for a full blog post.

    4. Unlike other social networking sites, Twitter's follower/followee setup doesn't require me to follow back every single person that follows me (and vice versa). This allows one to streamline the Twitterverse to their own personal preferences.

    And lastly...

    5. It's fun. Plain and simple. It's great to be able to post your (hopefully) witty thoughts on the day and life in general and to share that with people that want to hear it (and they don't have to follow you if they don't).

    I don't care if celebrities and business jump on the Twitter bandwagon. Because of the great setup, I don't have to follow them if I don't care what they're selling or promoting.

    Also, influx will just lead to more people joining Twitter that otherwise wouldn't have and the odds are that some of those people are sure to be interesting enough bring more to the Twitterverse.

    If not...oh well...no need to hit "follow".

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  11. I think this is a very good and timely topic. Personally, I kinda wish Ashton and Oprah would go away and find a new place to cannibalize. I like Twitter because I can keep track of my friends and family and people I just happen to think are awesome. I have (I think) three "celebrities" I follow, but only because I find the person interesting, not because they are famous or for what they do. I love Twitter as a networking tool - that you can find new people in your field and bounce cool ideas back and forth. I like the microblogging atmosphere for short spurts from the news agencies and activists/causes I follow. I don't care how many people follow me, or how many people I follow. I think Twitter is a place that quality CAN count more than quantity. And if #amazonfail taught us anything, it's that Twitter can be used to rally causes and get the word out faster on important issues. I just think celebs like Ashton and Oprah miss the point. For an online medium, I find Twitter much more personal than a blog. It's more interactive and relatable - and I don't think they really get that. They just want more popularity. You want to be popular? - lead the cops on a high speed chase or something....leave my Twitterverse alone!

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  12. I absolutely agree with you here. Now, I follow a small handful of celebs, to be honest, but I'm starting to find a majority of their Tweets to be banal and self-promoting (and this is saying nothing of the absurdity of the folks who use ghost-writers to Tweet for them -- I mean, really). But then, I never would have started following your Tweets if not for Cleolinda, and I always really enjoy yours, so... YMMV, I guess?

    For me, Twitter is a quick way to "miniblog" weird, crazy, funny, or random things. People may follow me, they may not. Whatev. ;)

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  13. Hmmm...I've got such a mix of folks I follow, from those celebs, to folks who while not on the scale of Oprah or Ashton are celebs in my little geeky world (Wil Wheaton, Mike Mearls, and Robin Laws for example).

    And following those folks in the beginning has led me to other folks, like yourself, and other geeks/gamers/bloggers who have interesting things to say, or post links to things that are of interest to me.

    As time passes the percentage of celebs I've following drops as I find more 'regular Joe' type geeks who say things I'm interested in reading.

    And while I don't think there are many folks who care, and perhaps it's vain to do so, I do like posting 'What I'm doing' a few times a day even if it's just normal/boring stuff. This way when I say I've just been up to 'the usual', they can look here and see about what I consider 'usual'.

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  14. I use twitter as I made during #tfe and #wotw2 and started helping run #tfe and have kept meeting people since then. I'm amazed ANYONE is listening to me tweet about my random life and chemistry and whatnot, *shrug* Oh, I also use it to get news and geeky info on D&D

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  15. i am using twitter just to be notified what are doing people from my industry :) and thats all :)

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