Writer Doesn't Get Twitter

In “I won’t Twitter my life away,” Leonard Pitts echoes the feelings of many who don’t see Twitter beyond “What are you doing?”

He writes, “In the first place, you have better things to do. In the second, I am not that interesting. No one is.”

I agree.

But Twitter offers much more. Yes, people tell you what they’re doing right this minute. I don’t care if you’re shopping at the grocery store or washing your car.

Twitter provides a water cooler to the lonely freelancer. Yes, you can meet people and make friends on Twitter. Intelligent ones with interests ranging from politics and books to intranet and medical industries. Many Twitterers meet in person.

Twitter leads to great shopping deals, book recommendations, and improving your writing skills by learning how to say a lot in 140 characters.
I didn’t always feel this way. When I first heard about Twitter and checked it out, I had the same thoughts as Mr. Pitts. My life wasn’t that interesting except for the time I went skydiving.

Many Twitter fans say they didn’t buy into Twitter right away. To benefit from Twitter, you must interact meaningfully with others. This conversation leads to a wonderful post on great books with 200 pages or less.

merylkevans: What’s the best short book (<200 pages) you’ve ever read? Can be fiction or not.

Other recent conversations cover the arbitrary editing and deleting of articles in Wikipedia, cochlear implants, a new web-based application that integrates with your cell phone and even Pitts’ article (so he should be thankful he gets a little link love out of this from the very source he insulted) and several people Tweeted back:

BethHarte @merylkevans You’re right Leonard Pitts doesn’t get Twitter. The fact is a lot of great networking is done on Twitter.

redcrew @merylkevans To learn more about Twitter, perhaps we can point Leonard Pitts to #twestival, #sandiegofire, and #hfhor

RonPloof @merylkevans I do agree with one thing that he said in the article. He’s not that interesting 🙂

Do you see a single “What are you doing?” mention? Find the right people and you’ll get much more than “life narrators.” Instead, you discover intelligent discussions without little bias getting in the way such as how we look and dress and how we speak.

I have a deaf accent because I was born profoundly deaf. In fact, here’s another conversation with a fellow Texan I’ve gotten to know in the past month:

roberthruzek: Wonderful! May I tell you about it sometime? I can hook you into a webinar that’ll explain everything.

merylkevans: Can’t do webinars. Deaf.

roberthruzek: Gee, never knew that about you.

So Twitter prevents people from judging me the minute I open my mouth. It’s a sad and true fact that people automatically think I’m not bright because of how I sound or I ask them to repeat something. It’s the same prejudice that hits people with a southern drawl.

You don’t have to try Twitter. Just understand that Twitter offers something valuable to people who use it on a professional and personal basis.

Twitter is what you make of it.

5 thoughts on “Writer Doesn't Get Twitter”

  1. Meryl,
    I do like this post a lot because I can completely relate. I joined Twitter last fall, but I didn’t use it, didn’t get it. (Who the heck cares that I’m eating breakfast?)
    Ultimately I did decide to give it a go after the account languished for a couple of months. Once I decided to give it an honest go, I found benefit immediately.
    Now, I’m following about 850 and have about 875 following with almost 3,400 updates! I’ve met fantastic people and the referrals to my web site build every month.
    It is so worth whatever effort is put into it.
    Tumblemoose´s last blog post… Sorry, you’re not my type: 10 online typing tutors

  2. Meryl, you point out something very valuable that many miss about Twitter. It is an equal access communications platform. Yes it is a social networking medium but one that allows everyone to participate. On twitter, accents are wiped away as we chatter away in 140 characters. Unlike face to face networking it does not matter what you look like, what you’re wearing or any of the other superficial judgments we make – it’s all about the content. Yes, some of that comment is chatter but small talk is a part of human interaction. I am not sure why people find that so distasteful when it’s the water cooler chatter about weather, what we had for dinner or what happened at the gas station that allows us to build relationship through connecting on shared experiences.
    Karen Swim´s last blog post… Coming Soon to Theaters Near You

  3. @Stephanie, I’ve learn that people use twitter in many ways. It’s just those like Mr. Pitts who don’t yet realize it.
    @George, ya got that right my feller Texan!
    @Karen, that’s right — my deaf accent disappears and I can enjoy a Texas accent instead 🙂

  4. I see three things happening in that space right now.
    1) People only posting the mundane details of their life – I don’t care if they are eating a bagel either.
    2) People that think social networking is re-iterating the news, posting retweets and links to their PR clients websites. Boring.
    3) People that tweet more about Twitter than anything else. Many are still in the ‘enamored’ phase. I find myself doing it. Remember when bloggers blogged about blogging more than most other subjects? Now it has matured and you don’t see that much. Twitter will get to that place when the medium matures.
    Harrisburg Web Design´s last blog post… Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Website


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