I am not what you would call a masterful Tweeter. DJ Steve? With his pictures of snack packaging and philosophical musings (sample: “I dare anyone to not want Wendy’s right now”)? Practically Twitter’s poster-child. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, advertising Lifting Fog posts (when available ROFL) and complaining about library noise. On occasion I might link to a video from 2006. I’m a premature grandparent struggling to figure out what the buttons do.
And yet…fate so often conspires to throw us headlong into those very arenas we’re least skilled in. Woefully unprepared, we just make do. Bratty teenagers get pregnant; I’m driven to Twitter to collect my cross-country thoughts.
Take it as a classic “my greatest weakness is that I try too hard” statement (it is), but what makes me so bad at Twitter is that I’m totally hamstrung by my desire to be awesome. There is simply NO ROOM in my idealized digital oeuvre for anything less than that perfect blend of humor and insight and pathos, all contained in 140 characters or less, that says exactly what I want to say and does so with style to spare. Anything short of that is a Hindenburg travesty.
(Basically, I am anal.)
Twitter on the other hand is all about unclogging the pipes and just dumping it all on screen. The results may be good; they may be bad. They’re dumps! It’s hard to say what they’ll be like until they drop. To spend all your time spell-checking and editing is like baking an elaborate gourmet pizza when all anyone f*cking wants is some Papa John’s.
So Twitter and I are in no way a perfect — or even John Travolta-Kelly Preston “this arrangement is acceptable” — marriage. We are your bitterly unhappy Aunt Hashtag and Uncle Barfoed, ruining Thanksgiving.
…And yet it was actually a very pre-meditated and easy decision to make Twitter my trip’s go-to communications center! Rather than labor over thesis-long e-mails to multiple unsolicited parties, I could direct traffic my way. And without any “THIS MESSAGE SEEMS IMPERSONAL TO ME” flack, either (impersonality is practically built into Twitter’s very source code!) or crossed reply-all streams. Couple that with location-based messaging (perfect for helping the cops find exactly where I was murdered), and the fact that the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot is only ever a McDonald’s away, and Twitter becomes maybe not the worst thing ever invented.
Over 3 weeks and 45 tweets, @HenningFog GOT THE WORD OUT. On cultural preparation!
On international tourism!
On what to do in Chicago!
realizing you will never be a full-fledged adult growing up!
And of course on the most important subjects, like what that one guy was wearing at that place!
At the end of the day, it’s absolutely the perfect medium in which to convey the kinds of thing that cross your mind as you plow down the Great American Highway. Self-conscious, pointless masturbation? Might as well be written right on the highway! “That tree over there is a different color than the others around it. Do you think it feels excluded?” BOOM, TWEETED. “If Heaven is never-ending, pure bliss and Hell an equally long torture scene, but you’re a masochist and derive pleasure from pain…do you automatically wind up in Purgatory?” ON THE BOARD. “Fifth McDonald’s of the last two days! Maybe I should slow down haha.” SELF-DEPRECATING TWITTER GOLD.
Let’s be real: for all the “students of new media” (COME ON) raving about the service’s usefulness as a mobilizing social tool and force for crowd-driven real world change (it clearly can be, just not in Americans’ hands), it is also an infinitely large, non-flushing digital toilet.
And since Lifting Fog is a piece of shit? Maybe this thing might work out after all.