I’ve been thinking, the last few days, about how Twitter and how much I have come to use it.
Twitter seems to be a rather polarizing thing – people either love it or they hate it. (And some people start out saying they hate it, but then wind up getting their own account and happily tweeting away on it. Not that I know anyone like this, of course.)
Twitter-haters say “It’s so mundane, it’s a barrage of banal trivia. I don’t care if someone’s making toast, or is bored at work.” I recall that people said much the same thing about personal web sites, and then about journals and blogs when they became popular. “Why would anyone want to read about some stranger’s private life?”
Well, apparently they do. So I would say that yes, Twitter entries certainly can be banal and devoid of interest. But that’s true of any form of communication. Have these people never had a face to face conversation that was mundane and boring? I envy them.
I feel that as a writer, the challenge is to create 140-character snapshots of one’s world – either the outer world, or one’s inner one - that are interesting to read. It’s a good exercise in learning capture a reader’s attention concisely.
(It’s also a useful tool for quickly mobilizing large groups of people – witness the Amazon episode – but that’s a different conversation.)
Because you can talk to me on Twitter, it also takes the place of the comments feature on my blog. (Which was abolished mainly because it was hijacked by porn spammer and a few vitriol-spouters.) It’s always been possible to email me, but some people like to publish comments to me, too.
And I think the fact that Twitter is often assumed to be dedicated to mundane trivia is useful for me. Mundane trivia adds dimension to who I am. My friends and I joke about how people think, because I’m a dominatrix, I fall out of bed every morning in a corset and thigh-high boots. I think if I had time, it would be terribly amusing to start a Twitter in the voice of that mythical stereotypical Mistress. Like this:
Mistress WhiplashYourAss: Got out of bed and stood on slave while I brushed my teeth. Then administered beating to him for not squeezing toothpaste from bottom.
9:25 AM Apr 12th from web
Mistress WhiplashYourAss: Drinking first cup of coffee at kitchen table while slave licks my six-inch stiletto-heeled pumps. Kick him for whimpering about beating.
9:55 AM Apr 12th from web
Mistress WhiplashYourAss: Going to the post office. One of 4 super-buff slaves who carry me everywhere in a curtained litter has ingrown toenail. Administered beating.
11:07 AM Apr 12th from web
That’s actually not what my life looks like, and I’d rather not have to unravel those assumptions when I meet people.
I’m not sure my Twitter would be interesting or make much sense if you didn’t know who I was, and you didn’t read anything else by me. But I think it works well as an addition to all the other words I publish.
And as a reader, I myself am enjoying following the daily lives of other interesting folks. So Tweet on, people.