I was very wary of Twitter when it first came out, because I perceived it to be a purified extraction of the worst aspect of Facebook: the incessant, mundane, over-sharing wall update.
“Just flossed my teeth and brushed for four minutes with flouride! Take that, gum disease!”
“Everybody pray for my Grandma… she’s having a colonoscopy tomorrow morning. :-(”
Gross. Nobody cares. So I avoided Twitter like the plague until I was 5 months into unemployment and started seeing it under “required skills” on job postings: Must be well-versed in social media–we will look for active Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn accounts!
I desperately needed a job, so I sucked it up and decided to conquer Twitter. Now it’s an every day part of my existence, and I have discovered the many ways it can be useful outside of “I just wiped with 5 squares of toilet paper” kinds of tweets, which I will hereon refer to as “twats.”
I honestly think that Twitter would be a much nicer place if everyone understood the difference between tweets and twats. A tweet is a useful, funny, information-sharing post. For instance, I am following political blogger/columnist Ezra Klein on Twitter, and his tweets are usually snoozefests. But yesterday, right around the end of the day when I had ceased to be productive, he tweeted:
“Unlike the KFC Double Down, this guy’s got all the calories you’d expect: http://bit.ly/900ONA“.
I clicked on it, and it was a fabulous article about a cheeseburger with 2 grilled cheese sandwiches for buns that totally made my day and sparked an energetic office conversation about ridiculous foods. That was a legitimate tweet because it actually improved people’s lives for a few minutes.
Similarly, Wall Street Journal tweeted this morning:
“Google is preparing to roll out a music download service tied to its search engine later this year http://on.wsj.com/daH2WO.”
Neat, we all know something new now.
Another example of a good tweet is one that isn’t necessarily useful or informative, but is at least universally appealing. Even if it’s not laugh out loud funny, it refreshes and entertains people for a minute. Actor Russell Brand tweeted this morning:
“I’m in Ireland! I’m snogging the Liffey, I’m caressing the castle and I can’t tell you what I’m gonna do to the Blarney stone.”
Cool, Russell Brand’s in Ireland, and he announced it in cool and mildly funny way. My life is not worse for having read that, it just moves on.
Now onto the twats. A classic twat is either boring, wildly inappropriate, self-promoting, a public “love-tweet” to another person (ahem Ashton and Demi), or has a picture of oneself (probably taken by their own laptop) attached.
Angie Jackson live-tweeted (or live-twatted) her abortion and miscarriage on Twitter. Inappropriate.
Paula Adbul twatted: “But everyone’s armpits are in my face & I can’t see! Lol! Just kidding! :))) xoxoP www.PaulaAbdul.com.” Dumb, pointless, self-promoting, too many emoticons.
Mark Shurtleff, Utah’s attorney general, twatted his approval for Gardner to receive death by firing squad last week: “I just gave the go ahead to Corrections Director to proceed with Gardner’s execution. May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims.” ….Wildly inappropriate!
And a girl I barely know who went to U.Va. used to post twats like, “I love it when I wake up to a sweet e-mail from my boyfriend!” While I’m sure she’s a great person, I am not “following” her anymore, because her twats gave me cavities. And probably hepatitis, or something.
The good news is that you can easily remove all the twatters from your “follow” list so they can’t take a poop on your life every day with their mundane updates. But if everyone would just make an effort to understand the difference between tweets and twats and ONLY publish the former, Twitter could improve from 50% cool to 99% cool. I’m just sayin’.