The other day, someone on a forum I frequent was complaining about how difficult Twitter is. Every time they go on there, someone is arguing about politics! Or race! Or religion! It made them feel like they couldn’t even venture a comment without someone jumping down their throat. Twitter is awful!
Er, no, you’re just following the wrong people and commenting on the wrong comments. Unfollow them and comment elsewhere. Duh.
I didn’t quite reply that bluntly, but that was the gist of what I said, which necessitated an annoyed reply on their part that they liked following those people.
What can I say, some people don’t want to be helped. For the rest of us, that’s lesson number one about Twitter: follow the people you want to talk to. Don’t follow people who constantly talk about things you don’t want to talk about, whatever that may be. Capish?
People on Twitter are nicer than Facebook.
Probably because we don’t have to see each other’s bikini pics.
— S. Hunter Nisbet (@ShunterNi) February 8, 2016
I began using Twitter with a vague annoyance at the whole thing. How does this work? Who will talk to me? How many people are actually reading my Tweets? And for heaven’s sake, why would anyone use the word “Tweeps”?
But worse than that, how am I supposed to fit my thoughts into 140 characters?
I would like to say right now that rarely do I compose a tweet in my head and write it out only to find it has too many characters. The mind can adapt to many things, and a character limit is one of them. Weirdly. Perhaps worryingly.
People get hung up over Twitter. Either they love it and are mildly obsessed (guilty), or they are baffled by it—no in-betweens.
@TravisWestYA Obviously the correct response is to post about it on twitter. Well done, carry on.
— S. Hunter Nisbet (@ShunterNi) December 14, 2015
Wait, no, I tell a lie, the in-between is Husband, who will warn everyone within hearing that Twitter is used as a data collection point by the NSA. But considering he point-blank refuses to use it, I will assert that his distrust of it also stems from lack of understanding of the whole premise. Of course NSA watches; everyone watches. That’s what it’s for.
Twitter is a hotbox. Twitter is a pressure chamber. Twitter is the shrine where you write your hopes and dreams on a square of wood and nail them to the wall, knowing that the more people who read them, the more likely they are to come true (it’s a Shinto thing). Twitter is, well. It’s a conversation.
You try to stand out just enough.
Standing out on Twitter isn’t difficult: begin shouting weird crap and you will be your own island. But nobody wants to read that, and you’ll find you’re an island of one. Try shouting very cleverly worded weird crap and you’ll do much better.
Or you would, if you had any followers. How to get those? Use some hashtags, follow some interesting-looking people, reply to people’s statuses!
Twitter is an equal playing field; even those with those shiny blue checks next to their names will sometimes chat back. Authors, actors, musicians, politicians—if they have a public face, they’re on Twitter.
And, you know, ordinary people who want to be there are too.
The large amount of drunk posts on my Twitter right now means I’m going to need it for something professional soon. #murpheyslaw
— S. Hunter Nisbet (@ShunterNi) February 27, 2016
There are games, for anyone who wants to play them. There are trends, and it’s fun to join in. There are debates, and those range from idiotic to high-brow.
It all comes down to who you follow. If you want fun, follow funny people; simple as that. Anger for anger, depressing for depressing. And those who follow you will do the same. If you want the wits to comment, you yourself must be witty. There’s a reason you are judged by your follower to following ratio; this is the indicator of how many people actually find you interesting.
Okay, okay, this is Twitter; it’s also the indicator of how many spambots ceased functioning between the time they followed you and their next purge, but I digress. If you follow 500 people and have 1000 follows, probably only 300 of them are spam bots. And that’s a scientific number, aka, I made it up based on my beliefs, which often count as facts on Twitter.
Like anywhere else on the internet, consume it with a pinch of salt, a little sugar, and all the gusto you like. But if you’re not enjoying yourself because you follow angry people, I’m going to give you the same advice I gave the forum-goer above:
Find new people to follow. Or else, it really is your fault.
My twitter stream is currently half #UFC191 commentary and half poetry about vegetables. This pleases me.
— S. Hunter Nisbet (@ShunterNi) September 6, 2015
Are you on Twitter? Did you find it baffling at first, or did you ease into it without too much trouble? Do you have a strategy? Are you just there to hang out? Tell us in the comments below!
Before I forget–because I always forget–there’s a giveaway on Goodreads for a signed paperback of What Boys Are Made Of. It ends May 16th, so sign up before then!