I had never used Twitter. Honestly, I never liked the idea of Twitter. A constant flood of messages, none saying very much, seems like the opposite of what writers should strive for.
But the things you avoid have a way of finding you.
In the past week, I’ve gotten even more active in the Restore the Fourth movement. My focus has become less national and more local: I’m getting heavily involved in the Cleveland chapter. I don’t live near Cleveland, but it’s the only active chapter in Ohio. C’est la vie.
Recently I was given control of the official Twitter account for our local group.
When you’ve got a message to spread, you can’t afford to be picky about your medium. I learned how to use Twitter, and I learned fast.
So…how is it?
To some extent, it’s what I was afraid of. Twitter does emphasize quantity over quality, and I’m not crazy about that. And the constant stream of new content can make you a little ADHD if you let it.
Also, it causes otherwise respectable people to say “tweet” with alarming frequency.
On the other hand, I can see the appeal.
Twitter is more personal than other media, more connected. Where else but Patrick Stewart’s Twitter feed could I get pictures like this…or this?
But Twitter is more than a connection with any single person. It’s like a giant worldwide conversation, filled with the latest thoughts from National Geographic, Bill Nye, the New York Times, Levar Burton, Cory Doctorow, and/or whoever else you happen to be fascinated by.
If you think of it that way – as a conversation, a sort of filtered universal chat room – it starts to make more sense.
From a writer’s point of view, if you want to say something meaningful in a single (sigh) tweet, you have to really focus. Cut off the excess, hone your message down to its absolute core. It’s certainly possible. Hemingway allegedly wrote a short story in six words, so 140 characters is practically a novel.
Anyway, I’ve only been a Twit (Tweep? Tweeter? Twitterer?) for a few days. We’ll see how it goes.
Have you given in to the siren allure of the Twitternaut? What was your experience like?