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Emotional twitter ticker
May 5, 2008 9:51 AM   Subscribe

I love twistori.
I hate twistori.
I think twistori is awesome.
I believe twistori is pointless.
I feel uncomfortable reading twistori.
I wish I could stop.
From twitter, inspired by wefeelfine [previously], using summize.
posted by carsonb (101 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Twitter blows.
posted by zekinskia at 9:54 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


World was nicer place when everyone's unimportant daily minutiae was kept to themselves and their close friends.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:55 AM on May 5, 2008 [9 favorites]


It's already completely Pepsi-Blue'd out.
posted by Miko at 9:56 AM on May 5, 2008


There's an awfully high number of twitter posts referencing twitter.
posted by The White Hat at 10:01 AM on May 5, 2008


OK, the first two I get, but this

It's already completely Pepsi-Blue'd out.

I don't understand. Please explain, Miko?
posted by carsonb at 10:01 AM on May 5, 2008


Ouhh, ouhh, can I guess what he means?

(1) Pepsi-Blue is yet another lame twist on a product that has already been completely over-marketed. Twistori is yet another lame twist on a product that has already been completely over-marketed.

(2) Maybe he's talking about marketers and fanatics infiltrating Twitter, so that half of what's being said is about products or Jeebus.

(3) ???

(4) PROFIT!
posted by zekinskia at 10:07 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


So much hate, so little room. I like watching twistori; maybe its the voyeur inside that is interested in random strangers minutiae. Or maybe its a pretty colors!
posted by sir_rubixalot at 10:07 AM on May 5, 2008


I tried Twitter once. Then I realized no one cares at all for my unimportant daily minutiae. Not even me. Ho-hum. I'll be in the backyard eating worms.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2008


s/a/the

whatever it takes :/
posted by sir_rubixalot at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2008


I'm with TOCT on this... I care, because?

now if the list was:

shot
killed
screwed
amputated
assassinated

you know, fun stuff....

THEN I would be interested....!
posted by HuronBob at 10:09 AM on May 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Let me take a stab at this one, carsonb:

"I want to buy the world a Coke and keep it company."

If I were a brand manager, and a twitterer, I'd twitter my brand. And since this is the Internet, if I can think of it, somebody else has already gone and done it.
posted by notyou at 10:10 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


haha awesum, tks notyou. advertizing is unstoppable.
posted by carsonb at 10:12 AM on May 5, 2008


er, "already gone and done it AND blogged about it afterward..."
posted by notyou at 10:12 AM on May 5, 2008


If this thread is going to be a referendum on twitter, I just want to say that I only have two problems with it... 1) It seems some great bloggers have started Twittering often and blogging rarely. 2) The @username thing has seeped into places like Metafilter.
posted by drezdn at 10:13 AM on May 5, 2008


Let me just take this moment to say: Diablo Cody is one of the most eggregious abusers of Twitter in the brief history of the site.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:19 AM on May 5, 2008


"Oh, chunky, heel-walking neighbor; how
I wish a loved one would replace your pie with a Bowflex and some soft-soled, pie-lady shoes."

heh
posted by oddman at 10:20 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


i still haven't figured out what twitter is for... of course that's partially because i haven't felt the need to figure it out... 8/
posted by przxqgl at 10:24 AM on May 5, 2008


HuronBob, those aren't as interesting as you think
posted by mnology at 10:33 AM on May 5, 2008


"Twitter...don't leave home and then get thrown into an Egyptian jail without it."
posted by adamms222 at 10:33 AM on May 5, 2008


I tried to explain twitter to a coworker last week. His initial takeaway was "wait, so it's like an incredibly shitty blog?"

So I tried to convey the whole SMS-ish spirit of it, the whole micro-update, subscriber-driven, update-from-anywhere thing and that made a little more sense to him but didn't change his fundamental reaction. And I explained TwitterVision and other wierd little mashups and compared it to some other historical social sites/services/apps, and again that gently nudged it a couple inches to the left in his eyes but we were still in Incredibly Shitty Blog territory.

And the thing is that I don't really disagree, but at the same time I just sent off an ironic metareferential tweet about this thread to my twitter account. It just is what it is.
posted by cortex at 10:34 AM on May 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


Next.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:35 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Twittori would have been a lot cooler if it matched on any word I chose. Unfortunately http://twistori.com/#butts doesn't work.
posted by ardgedee at 10:38 AM on May 5, 2008


@ardgedee: try summize.
posted by carsonb at 10:40 AM on May 5, 2008


"those aren't as interesting as you think"

bunch of wusses....
posted by HuronBob at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2008


I tried to explain twitter to a coworker last week. His initial takeaway was "wait, so it's like an incredibly shitty blog?"

Well yeah, unless you're actually in a place where your friends are, and you use it for planning. When I'm at a bar at 8PM and I can use twitter to announce where I am and some other friends who were just down the block show up, I find it kind of useful. It's like a near-realtime social aggregator if you can use it locally.
posted by mikeh at 10:50 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't know. I suppose some people may like Twitter, but for me, it's basically a million people all screaming "OMG. I'm eating a sammich. Yum!" at the same time.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:52 AM on May 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


I don't really have an opinion about Twitter but I thought Twistori was pretty neat.
posted by sveskemus at 10:53 AM on May 5, 2008


Now that I've considered it, though, the type of messages I just said are pretty much nonexistent for twistori, since there's remarkably few realtime-style posts that have just opinions.
posted by mikeh at 10:53 AM on May 5, 2008


"wait, so it's like an incredibly shitty blog?"

Also, blogs are just incredibly shitty everything/nothing sites with sometimes a bit more restriction on the topics and old posts hidden in archives where they're hard to find. And blog is an incredibly shitty word.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:55 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Recent Twitters from all MetaFilter
To add Twitter to your MeFi profile: Preferences -> Optional fields -> Social Apps
posted by carsonb at 10:57 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is exactly what I think being able to read minds would be like: endless threads of inanity thrown at you with no sense of reason or context. I'll pass.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:57 AM on May 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


World was nicer place when everyone's unimportant daily minutiae was kept to themselves and their close friends.

And those who specifically log into a website to view it.
posted by DU at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2008


I find the concept of Twitter interesting, although I don't use it myself. But the idea of subscription-driven presence/status updates certainly isn't a flawed one. Anyone who's used an IM system with a status line can realize that; you quickly learn that one of the benefits of having instant messaging isn't the ability to send messages itself, but the ability to see, in real time, what everyone else is doing and whether they're available for you to walk over and ask something of.

And Twitter seems like a logical continuation of that 'status line'; it just extends it backwards in the time domain, so you can see people's status histories. (And when people know that it's going to be saved, they treat it a little differently.) Twitter also seems to be doing a good job extending the 'radius' of the telepresence bubble out onto mobile devices, but I think that's happening gradually anyway.

What I don't think will continue is the idea of Twitter as a separate service. Either it'll become subsumed by other applications (IM, email, etc.), or it will integrate so tightly with them that it won't really matter that it's not 'part of' that application. And that makes me question how they're going to stay solvent.

In short, it seems like such a good idea that eventually it's going to become commoditized.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:59 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't know. I suppose some people may like Twitter, but for me, it's basically a million people all screaming "OMG. I'm eating a sammich. Yum!" at the same time.

It's funny, the vast majority of my coworkers and friends basically say the same thing about sites like Metafilter. They don't understand why people like me spend so much time "chatting" with faceless people on the internet.

My opinion about Twitter once echoed yours, even more harshly so. Then I decided to sign up and try it.

Now I'm hooked.

And no, Twitter isn't just about people talking about how great their lunch was. I tend to unfollow people who use it that way.

It sounds annoyingly pretentious and snooty to say this, but it's impossible to explain the appeal and usefulness of Twitter unless you already "get it". And there's no way to "get it" unless you just jump in and try it.
posted by melorama at 11:05 AM on May 5, 2008


What I meant about Pepsi Blue was that this app has already been infiltrated by advertisers. In the minute or so I watched it, I saw two postings that were definitely ads, and a few other vague "I love Urban Outfitters" sorts of things that might or might not be genuine expressions of appreciation.

I've not been able to sustain any interest in Twitter. It's just more clutter. Life's too short.
posted by Miko at 11:05 AM on May 5, 2008


I gave this a chance, but it was really as boring and mundane as everyone said it is. The contrast between the pretty colors and horrible text starts to grate on me after a while.

*posts "I hate twistori to twitter".*
posted by !Jim at 11:05 AM on May 5, 2008


World was nicer place when everyone's unimportant daily minutiae was kept to themselves and their close friends.

whenever someone brings up twitter, I always hear the same complaints. you guys love the word "minutiae," don'tcha? maybe I'm just reading the wrong (right?) twitters but I don't see people twittering what they had breakfast and then when they got to work and then something a coworker just said and then what they had for lunch etc.

I have a feeling that all you twitter bashers are just a bunch of defeated old farts that don't like anything new or popular.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:07 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is exactly what I think being able to read minds would be like: endless threads of inanity thrown at you with no sense of reason or context. I'll pass.

Except there doesn't seem to be the background of vulgarity which a lot of our brains provide free of charge:

19:05 "Just arrived at restaurant."

19:05 "Wow, nice ass."

19:05 "Hope the special is pasta--holy smokes with a side of that. Baby!"

19:06 "Wait will be 20 minutes."

19:06 "Which gives me all the time in the world to ogle that!"

Etc.
posted by maxwelton at 11:11 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't like anything new or popular.
posted by rusty at 11:11 AM on May 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


I have a feeling that all you twitter bashers are just a bunch of defeated old farts that don't like anything new or popular.

The funny thing is that a huge number of "defeated old farts" often end up on Twitter after much prodding from people who try to convince them to give Twitter a chance. And then they become defeated old farts who happen to be addicted to Twitter (e.g., John C. Dvorak)
posted by melorama at 11:12 AM on May 5, 2008


I don't like anything new or popular. I also have excerpted the ten most recent posts to Twitter from the Metafilter page:

@------ Succubus!

Forehead slapping over resolution to issue.

in a meeting

sending my ipod off to apple this week--hoping it can be fixed! at least i have my trusty mini for backup.

@------: that does suck! i can relate--i managed to vote but of course florida doesn't count.

Eating a "chocolate" powerbar.

Prepping for another work travel thingy. I'd sure like more than a week home at a time.

@-------- Check my last tweet re: Toronto's current band of the week.

@------ - I'm not surprised about that at all. Even on a good day they sound like Adult from 8 years ago. http://tinyurl.com/3nc8ao

@------ mm, pancakes.


Keep in mind this is nothing personal, but we have: 5 people who can't figure out how to use instant messenger services. 1 person getting their ipod fixed. 2 people talking about what they had for lunch/breakfast. 2 people talking about stupid work crap. DO NOT CARE.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a feeling that all you twitter bashers are just a bunch of defeated old farts

I'd actually give two shits about twitter if it was for defeated old farts.

"I just scowled at some kids who stepped on my property."

"I'm down at the grocery store, with 300 coins of various denominations, about to buy $45 worth of groceries."

"I'm still sitting on that same bench. I just don't feel like moving and I can probably hold it for another few minutes."

"It's been 58 years. I still love you, Marianne."
posted by cashman at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2008 [17 favorites]


I have a feeling that all you twitter bashers are just a bunch of defeated old farts that don't like anything new or popular.

I like plenty of things that are new and popular, but the thing is, I don't have time or attention to track something like Twitter. I would have loved it in my 20s when I was more concerned with my social world, it was more volatile, and I had more time.

I have only a few communications indulgences and they already take too much of my energy. It's honestly just not worth it. As you turn into an old fart, you stop finding the fleeting reactions and whereabouts of your friends to be of obsessive interest, and your mind is also more likely to be occupied with things you don't need or want others to know about, and are fairly sure they also don't need or want to know about them. There's something about the general 2.0 navel gaze that I think will soon wear off. In 1996, everyone I knew had a web page with their name on it and some flashing text. We got over that. In 1986, I spent hours on the phone with my best friend daily. We got over that. Just because you can use a technology doesn't mean you have something to connect about. I think (hope) we'll get over the interest in minutiae, too.

It's not just Twitter; I'm also getting worn out on art projects and exhibits that aggregate individual responses (PostSecret, the new MOMA thing about dating). Humanity: a swarming mass of life acting mostly predictably. People are just not as interesting as they think, especially when you don't know them.
posted by Miko at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2008 [13 favorites]


I tried to explain twitter to a coworker last week. His initial takeaway was "wait, so it's like an incredibly shitty blog?"

Count me in as one of those who don't get the whole Twitter thing. Twitter seems sort of 'meh' if you live in somewhere where the SMS option isn't supported.

Thus I might be wrong, but sending out Tweets just seems like a very round about way to send the same SMS to multiple people when current cell phones allow you select multiple recipients.
posted by romakimmy at 11:21 AM on May 5, 2008


I've not been able to sustain any interest in Twitter. It's just more clutter. Life's too short.

I like Twitter because it's NOT more clutter. It does one thing. You communicate with your group. I use it to answer tech questions and to keep up with locals.

I've had trouble sustaining my interest in Facebook or MySpace because they are nothing but clutter now.
posted by dw at 11:22 AM on May 5, 2008


1) Reminds me of postsecret, without the secret.
2) Would like to have more verbs to choose from.
3) Also, please cancell my googel.
4) ???
5) NO PONY.

posted by not_on_display at 11:23 AM on May 5, 2008


I use twitter like a diary, kinda, except not too personal. Why don't I just get a diary? Because I can text/IM/use the website from wherever I am and I don't have to remember to cart around a book that can get stolen, or more likely lost. I really don't care if anyone doesn't care what I had for breakfast. I don't care if anyone follows me or not. I follow a few people who seem to lead more interesting lives than my own, and I suppose I'm living a bit vicariously through them. Actually, hearing about someone's interesting daily life inspires me to get a more interesting one.
posted by desjardins at 11:27 AM on May 5, 2008


Keep in mind this is nothing personal, but we have: 5 people who can't figure out how to use instant messenger services. 1 person getting their ipod fixed. 2 people talking about what they had for lunch/breakfast. 2 people talking about stupid work crap. DO NOT CARE.

So i take it you hate people in general? Because they tend to talk about stupid little things like this. But they also tend to say very funny, useful and insightful things as well. Making a judgement on someone (or some-thing, in this case) based on a the tiniest sliver of a sample like that is hardly fair.
posted by melorama at 11:30 AM on May 5, 2008


5 people who can't figure out how to use instant messenger services.

Well, in all fairness: if it works for those folks as IM, it is IM. I don't think that's a sector so eldritch and steeped in etiquette or tradition that you can exactly Violate any Mores by using the wrong lightweight app to exchange gossip or pleasantries or idle chatter.

I like plenty of things that are new and popular, but the thing is, I don't have time or attention to track something like Twitter.

See, and I think that's a big part of the not-getting-it. I don't pay any attention to Twitter either, and I'm (at least for the moment) an active user. I can't even access the site itself from work; I fire off tweets via gmail to twittermail, get the rare response back via the same route if someone gives me an @reply, and that's it.

I'd probably actively watch it, and every subscribe to anyone's feed, if the site itself wasn't blocked at work and so functionally invisible (or at least inconvenient to access) for much of my day. But I don't want to spend time staring at it, regardless; I already have enough things I pay too much obsessive attention to.

I like the fact that people who presumably think I'm entertaining or who like the weird little projects I get up to can find out about them pretty easily by subscribing to my feed; a quick "here is my latest stupid project [link]" tweet means a few dozen people who may or may not otherwise check up on my blog can find out about it, which is neat. But I don't think, insofar as there's some vital, interactive normative state to Twitter usage, that I'm really using it "right".
posted by cortex at 11:35 AM on May 5, 2008


cashman: That's brilliant. Someone register Grumpr.com quick.
posted by rusty at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dammit. Taken.
posted by rusty at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2008


And also, people who criticize Twitter for being useless and a waste of time are ironically enough the ones who are overthinking Twitter, as if it were a plate of beans.

If you had to boil it down to one word, the appeal of Twitter is simple. It's FUN.

The beauty of Twitter it is that you don't have to "spend a lot of time" to "track" messages. When you're waiting in line somewhere, you can pull out your phone, load up the last 20 tweets from people you're following, and be done with it (I will readily admit that I probably wouldnt have "gotten" the appeal of Twitter as quickly if I didn't own an iPhone). If you're following the right people, you won't be bored by a constant deluge of documentation of their lunch menus.

And just for the record, the very first "Tweet" I posted to Twitter was nowhere as flattering as my posts defending it in this thread.
posted by melorama at 11:37 AM on May 5, 2008


(Still standing by my first comment. !!)
posted by zekinskia at 11:39 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


(Just ate a tuna melt for lunch. My breath is stinky!)
posted by zekinskia at 11:39 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


(If I were to say "my breath smells" is it a double entendre, because (1) other people can smell the horrible aroma emanating from my mouth and (2) by breathing, I can smell their horrible aromas?)
posted by zekinskia at 11:41 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


To go further than just making fun of things, I think it's bad that I see people tending to replace real social interaction, including actual chatting, gossiping, and small talk, with this sort of one way or at best half-duplex broadcast.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:41 AM on May 5, 2008


(Okay, going back to work now. LUV teh INTERNETS)
posted by zekinskia at 11:41 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


you can pull out your phone, load up the last 20 tweets from people you're following, and be done with it

I'd rather read a book or magazine. I don't get enough time for that - love it when I have a wait in line that lets me pull out whatever I'm carrying.
posted by Miko at 11:45 AM on May 5, 2008


To go further than just making fun of things, I think it's bad that I see people tending to replace real social interaction, including actual chatting, gossiping, and small talk, with this sort of one way or at best half-duplex broadcast.

Hm, I see these kind of apps (including IM and Facebook) as augmenting social interaction for most people or even facilitating it (as in the poster above who mentioned meeting his friends at a restaurant). I don't know anyone who twitters/facebooks/etc to the exclusion of "real" social interaction. It's not like MeFi is "real" social interaction, yet you're posting here. Presumably you still talk to people at work, your partner, your family, friends, etc.
posted by desjardins at 11:47 AM on May 5, 2008


Yeah, TheOnlyCoolTim: that's another aspect. Standing in line is one of those chances to take in your environment, breathe, reflect, and connect with people who are around you through small talk, glances, smiles, hey-don't-I-know-you-from-Sam's-party kinds of chat. Using a device all the time to talk to a predetermined community undoubtedly interferes with interacting with your surroundings and, I think, probably does some damage to civility and community. You're never really fully there. I like the formulation of this social concern as Continuous Partial Attention.
posted by Miko at 11:48 AM on May 5, 2008


Presumably you still talk to people at work, your partner, your family, friends, etc.

Yes, but undeniably less than pre-internets.
posted by Miko at 11:49 AM on May 5, 2008


you can pull out your phone, load up the last 20 tweets from people you're following, and be done with it

Or, I can pull out my phone and call a friend and actually have a conversation! I'm certainly not saying that your favorite new(ish) toy sucks - but it's really of very limited use to me. I generally don't care what my friends do from minute to minute - and I can call them if I need to arrange a meeting. Otherwise, it seems a lot like voluntarily putting a tracking device on your ear and allowing everyone to map your movements. I guess I'm a bit more secretive.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:52 AM on May 5, 2008


I'd rather read a book or magazine. I don't get enough time for that - love it when I have a wait in line that lets me pull out whatever I'm carrying.

Same here. When I'm on the bus, or waiting around somewhere, I spend about 3-5 minutes reading my Twitter feed on my phone max, then pull out whatever book I'm jonesing to read at the time.

Like I mentioned, Twitter is a fun diversion, much like reading Metafilter, an email from a personal friend or the Op-ed section of the paper.

It can also be incredibly useful, in a very real-world way. In my case, I was attending the NAB convention in Vegas last month, when an important piece of equipment back at my studio failed at a critical moment. So I posted an plea to my Twitter feed, and within 10 minutes, I was talking to a "real" person in meatspace that came to my assistance.
posted by melorama at 11:52 AM on May 5, 2008


Standing in line is one of those chances to take in your environment

Just as a safety issue, one day someone texting/yapping on their cell phone is going to step without looking backwards off the sidewalk into the street directly in front of my bike, too late for me, paying attention, to avoid them. I just hope they get the worst of it. So far only the too late part hasn't happened yet.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:55 AM on May 5, 2008


Yes, but undeniably less than pre-internets.

I don't remember pre-internets. Can I play on your lawn?
posted by mayfly wake at 11:58 AM on May 5, 2008


Can I play on your lawn?

That's funny! Come on, you don't know how to play!
posted by Miko at 12:15 PM on May 5, 2008


Meatspace is one of those words that I hate.

God damn, I sure have a long list of those.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:17 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess I would give Twitter a try if I had more friends, or if, alternatively, my friends weren't the kind who would probably use Rusty's Grumpr instead, if anything.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:20 PM on May 5, 2008


(Okay, going back to work now. LUV teh INTERNETS)

GYOFTwitter.
posted by dw at 12:33 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like Twitter, it is a little running stream of other people doing their thing while I'm at work in rural noplace.

#I wish people actually built shit for solaris x86

"Your upload has taken over 30 minutes." Thanks for informing me of the slowness.
#I feel much better now.

#I love how the prospect of 23 cent pizzas can send the office into a frenzy


come on, these are my people!
posted by jessamyn at 12:43 PM on May 5, 2008


I like Twitter. I have a few people following me, and I follow a few people. I've tried following some who follow me as a reciprocal measure, but a few of them post about 10 times and hour, so I stopped following them. I look at it a few times a day.

If you don't like it, don't subscribe, don't read it, and bitch all you want. Bitchin's $5 for life around here so you are definitely getting your money's worth the more you bitch. It's true: my Tweets are full of inanities, mundane crap, and by the way, I had a leftover spring roll for breakfast and it was damn good.

Sue me.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 12:43 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you don't like it, don't subscribe, don't read it, and bitch all you want.

That's my policy. But if it's fine to like it, it's gotta be fine to not like it, too. To each her own.
posted by Miko at 12:50 PM on May 5, 2008


This is why I'm glad I don't have telepathy: the incessant noise from an endless stream of twitterati observing the insignificant aspects of their ordinary lives would drive any sane soul mad.
posted by SPrintF at 12:53 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's funny! Come on, you don't know how to play!

Sure I do! I'll just bring my laptop and headphones and...you do have wi-fi right?
posted by mayfly wake at 1:00 PM on May 5, 2008


Twitter is a lot like sending an SMS to your your friends' cell phones... except that your "friends" are self defined. This is a bit creepy, I suppose, but also really cool. I feel like I have a (very, very slightly) different relationship to folks like Lore Sjoberg and Wil Wheaton, because I often read his little twitter messages. Not like I'm now their personal friend, but more like they become real people and not just Faceless Authors / Humorists.

I imagine that if Twitter catches on, it will humanize folks who are currently even less "real" to me than Mr. Sjoberg. I'd love to read Björk's twitter feed, for example, or Obama's.

PS--Why did Björk get an ö, but not Metafilter's Own Lore Sjöberg? I don't know.

PPS--I know that Obama has a twitter feed, but I'm assuming that a staffer writes it?

PPPS--I refuse, still, to call them "tweets".
posted by Squid Voltaire at 1:00 PM on May 5, 2008


This is why I'm glad I don't have telepathy: the incessant noise from an endless stream of twitterati observing the insignificant aspects of their ordinary lives would drive any sane soul mad.

I used to think kind of the same thing about background noise before I moved downtown. Turns out you just sort of filter most of it out; it's only the car accidents and the fire trucks and the occasional drunken screamer that really stands out. I like to think that telepathy would be pretty much the same thing; it's a more attractive notion than an entire race of psychotics.
posted by cortex at 1:03 PM on May 5, 2008


Woo, twitterati, a new word for the list.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:07 PM on May 5, 2008


My WiFi coverage extends to the lawn. You're welcome to chill here. Bring steak.
posted by LordSludge at 1:10 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


But if it's fine to like it, it's gotta be fine to not like it, too.

Absolutely! I don't do MySpace or FaceBook but I think it's cool for people that like it. I do think, tho', that Twitter is a good outlet for many people who only have time to post a sentence or two here and there, and only want to read the same.

To me it's like chatting without having to sit and wait for the other person to respond while I have to go pee, run to the store, or get back to work. I post when I have spare time, I don't when I am busy. I can scan the posts of the people I'm following in a few minutes. Working out of the house and needing a mental break (especially after proofreading today), this is invaluable to me. I can certainly go out and chat with "real live faces" any time I want, but when I've got to get back to what I'm doing in a short period of time, that's not feasible. Plus it's fun for me.

But the naysayers who want to say it's just not cool or it's possibly dangerous, that's a bit over the edge for me in terms of protest. I have never stepped off the sidewalk in front of someone's bike while Twittering, as I do it from home. I hate text messaging on phones, it's too slow for me. But I don't bitch at people who like to do it, either. It's just not a focal point in my life to worry about what other people are doing (like bumpers stickers, plaster your car, I don't care, but apparently lots of people are bothered by that stuff).
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:20 PM on May 5, 2008


I think Penny Arcade summed this up nicely.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:26 PM on May 5, 2008


Has anybody tried to use Twitter as fiction? As in -- broadcasting the thoughts and activities of a fictional person?

"Zounds, my feet are killing me today. Off to the Oracle to find out who my father is once and for all."

"Damn. That wasn't what I expected to hear. I'd rather not kill dad and make it with mom (EWW. I mean, really? with Mom? Ick.). I'm going to Thebes. And I'm NOT telling Mom and Dad. You better not either."

"Some bastard cut me off at the crossroads. And, then, uhhh, I killed him. Travel makes me so edgy. Don't judge me, dude."

"Remember that old riddle about walks on four legs in the morning and two legs at noon and three in the evening? Well I solved it and killed the Sphinx and the Thebans made me King (cause their's was gone or something).

"The Queen is hot, even though she's a little older. That may also be why she's hot. Plus, she's borne me two sons (my boys rock!) and a couple of daughters."

"By 'my boys' I mean 'my little swimmers.' The sons are pretty great, too!

"Crap. Plague. I got it covered. I am, afterall, the guy who rose from son of humble herdspeople to King of Thebes. So I sent Creon to the Oracle for advice."

"Creon's back, says we need to find the killer of the old king (the one who wasn't around when I got here) and then kill him. Exile would work, too."

"Sent for Tiresias."

"Still waiting. Blind prophets don't move fast, apparently."

"What a maroon! Tiresias thinks I killed the old king -- and that I don't know who my true parents are!"

"Dad's dead. Wait, what? And was adopted by the herdsmen? I guess that means the prophecy is a bunch of bunk. Sure freaked the Queen out, though."

"You're not gonna believe what I just learned from another herdsmen."

"Gotta find the Queen before she does something dumb."

"Ehh, hello? Antigone here. Dad's stabbed his eyes out with one of Mom's broaches, so he won't be twittering much anymore. Taking him to Athens to recuperate."
posted by notyou at 3:36 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Has anybody tried to use Twitter as fiction?

Our own casconed presents: Twitter Theater - Fight Club.
posted by cortex at 3:43 PM on May 5, 2008


Ahh, that looks interesting, cortex.

With a translation of a popular novel out of the way, I suppose original, made-for-twitter fiction can't be far behind.
posted by notyou at 3:51 PM on May 5, 2008


Has anybody tried to use Twitter as fiction?

Joyce's Ulysses?
posted by SPrintF at 4:36 PM on May 5, 2008


oh great, I just got gum stuck to the bottom of my shoe.
posted by subgear at 5:32 PM on May 5, 2008


More ^

an hour to let them down wetting all myself always with some brandnew fad every other week such a long one I did I forgot my suede gloves on the seat behind
about 2 hours ago by mollyb from im

when I stood up and asked the girl where it was what do I care with it dropping out of me and that black closed breeches he made me buy takes you half
about 2 hours ago by mollyb from im

laughing and trying to listen I was waggling my foot we both ordered 2 teas and plain bread and butter I saw him looking with his two old maids of sisters
about 2 hours ago by mollyb from im

theyre all so different Boylan talking about the shape of my foot he noticed at once even before he was introduced when I was in the D B C with Poldy
about 2 hours ago by mollyb from im

More v
posted by ormondsacker at 5:40 PM on May 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's like Facebook status updates but with random people!
posted by liquorice at 6:14 PM on May 5, 2008


I have a twitter account.

I hate blogs. I have never maintained one consistently and I don't consistently read anyone else's.

However, I use my Twitter account essentially as a micro-blog. I try to shape what I'm thinking about into a concise, 140 character package. It's a creative challenge for me to find the seed of the thought, and form it into this small package and send it out. I am enjoying it.

Seeing as it's a writing challenge for myself I'm always amazed when someone subscribes to my feed, but also flattered that they are interested enough in it to want it instantaneously on my phone.

I figure I'm performing a public service as the last thing the world needs is one more overwrought personal blog full of words words words.

Twistori, however, sucks both as an idea and in its execution.
posted by loiseau at 6:45 PM on May 5, 2008


Twitter is my vestigial tail. I don't know what to do with it.
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:34 PM on May 5, 2008


I love to do the same thing with the first three words I see on every post on AskMe...

I need a...
How can I...
Should my partner...
Is there such...
I recently had...
It appears that...
Short and Sweet:
Is there a...
I'm interrailing and...
My desk chair...
I seem to...
My girlfriend says...
When was the...
What are the...

And then sometimes I make up my own endings to these questions. And I post the answers.

j/k

posted by iamkimiam at 7:50 AM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have two or three blogs but I can't find the time to update them because I am too busy with real-world things. I used to keep a journal, and I got too busy for that, too. I love to write, and I write a lot, but I like to get paid for it. I'm kind of old fashioned that way. Blogging doesn't pay me, and most of my other writing does. So screw blogging.

Twitter is for people who can't stand it that others don't know when they're taking a shit. I. Don't. Fucking. Care.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:00 AM on May 6, 2008


I. Pretend. I. Don't. Fucking. Care. But I. Actually. Really. Do.
posted by Jofus at 9:11 AM on May 6, 2008


Keep in mind this is nothing personal, but we have: 5 people who can't figure out how to use instant messenger services. 1 person getting their ipod fixed. 2 people talking about what they had for lunch/breakfast. 2 people talking about stupid work crap. DO NOT CARE.

...then don't follow them.

Or, I can pull out my phone and call a friend and actually have a conversation!

this another one I hear a lot from defeated old farts, although usually when they're talking about text messaging. is it really practical to do the whole "hello? hi! how are you? good thanks, how are you? great!" every time you just need to convey a single bite of information to your friends?

twittering, blogging, text messaging, myspace bulletins, IM's...believe it or not, but all of these things actually fuel more of these allegedly endangered real-life meet-ups than not. it's a new world we're livin' in!
posted by mcsweetie at 10:35 AM on May 6, 2008


it's a new world we're livin' in!

The condescension is unecessary and silly. I think people here get it about the power of connectivity to connect people in real life (obviously). The particular menu options each of us happens to choose for building community and staying in touch vary according to our personal priorities, routines, and tastes.

There are still some observations to be made about the types of interactions people have with people who are not already on their chosen follow/friend list - with strangers, neighbors, and community members who are part of the real, non-virtual community. Constant connectivity across distance is, in some ways, a threat to that sort of civility, which is necessarily built on the graces needed to connect with people of whom you do not already approve or know.
posted by Miko at 11:31 AM on May 6, 2008


Constant connectivity across distance is, in some ways, a threat to that sort of civility, which is necessarily built on the graces needed to connect with people of whom you do not already approve or know.

Not that I disagree with your general premise Miko, and I think we're coming from the same page on that, but I don't see this as an either/or. Like many things, the mindfulness required to manage both the sort of "always on" chirping that is the everpresent web and the focus needed to maintain contacts with in-person friends and neighbors is challenging but I don't think it's accurate to say that because we have one, we're necessarily losing the other. I know many people who manage to balance both. Of course something has to give but it may not necessarily be one of these two broad categories.
posted by jessamyn at 12:27 PM on May 6, 2008


I know many people who manage to balance both

That is certainly true (and many people here are a great example of that) but I do wonder how we plan to cultivate that mindfulness as a culture. The situation of drivers on cellphones losing track of the road is a good example. Of course, there's the argument that there are distractions even without cell phones, because people can fiddle with the radio or talk to companions in the car. And yet, using a cell phone while driving does apparently make people four times more likely to get into a crash - and not because they're handling the phone, because the statistics did not seem to vary even with hands-free phones, but because their minds are elswhere. They're distracted, and not noticing conditions or reacting to them as quickly. Doesn't that indicate that using the phone means there is not enough mindfulness directed at the first-priority activity?

I agree that the problem is really one of intention: how do we avoid distracting ourselves when we can and maybe should make other choices? I guess I see it as driven by values - if you value the community elements of physical proximity, you might minimize distraction. But can we learn to value that if we don't grow up with it, and escape into our devices whenever possible?

If I were into Twitter, I might use it when I'd otherwise read - like, if I thought it would be OK to read in that situation, or just didn't feel like dealing with people in my immediate environment, I'd use it then. I guess what I have a bit of a problem with is the idea that the communication over devices is somehow always more important or more real than the communication you might have with people who are right next to you. I understand that it can be integrated, but I also understand there is tremendous seduction in the ability to have always-fresh, novel content scrolling by your eyes like popcorn. I have a twitchy "Recent Activity" finger and hop between windows all day at work. In practice, it's actually hard to govern your attention when the presence of that frequently changed content at all times in all places is available. There is an effort of attention and will involved in choosing to be mentally present where you're physically present.
posted by Miko at 1:31 PM on May 6, 2008


I agree that the problem is really one of intention: how do we avoid distracting ourselves when we can and maybe should make other choices?

By not being distracted.

Suggesting that Twitter or the cell phone is some evil because people never were distracted before? Good grief. We've always been distracted. Tell me you've never left something on or forgotten to do something because you were too engrossed in a book.

I guess what I have a bit of a problem with is the idea that the communication over devices is somehow always more important or more real than the communication you might have with people who are right next to you.

Yeah, like post. I mean, how could we allow people to send letters when they should be communicating with the people around them! And heaven forbid any of those letters be allowed to leave the country, much less the local community!!

Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Yahoo Groups, the Usenet, the city blog I'm part of, here -- they let me extend my community beyond "next to me."

Is it just possible that community isn't just the people next door to you, but also people in other places with bonds other than geography? Can't it encompass both?
posted by dw at 2:59 PM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is it just possible that community isn't just the people next door to you, but also people in other places with bonds other than geography? Can't it encompass both?

Yes, of course. But you are suggesting I'm taking the extreme stance of saying we've never had distractions before or that it was never appropriate to keep in touch over long distances. Of course we have and of course it was. However, without a doubt, we've never had as many long-distance connections, received as many discrete messages in a day, were never able to access our messages from anywhere and send them to people in any location in which their body was, nor have we ever had to process as much information in a given single time span as we do today. There is a difference of degree, and differences of degree can be seemingly small but can have large impacts.

Community life is an important one to me. Yes, we can and do have real communities that are formed through virtual networks. And yet, as long as our bodies have to be someplace, that place matters. The availability we have for interactions in our immediate environment, and the quality of those interactions, determins to a large extent the quality of our experiences where we live. There can be a feedback loop - the less you interact with your neighbors, the less you know and connect with your neighbors, the more incentive you have to seek connection elsewhere -- look for people with whom you have a much easier time getting along - often, people of the same class, level of education, interests, political outlook, age, and race. Our virtual communities may be geographically diverse, but it seems to me that quite often they are culturally reflections of ourselves. Meanwhile, in the real town or city in which you live, it's good to know how the neighbors' opinions might differ from yours and why, so you can make sure they don't close the bridge that you bike to work on.

I've actually thought for a while that the ever-expanding disconnect between people in the 20th century was in large part responsible for the political polarization we saw increasingly in the post-Reagan years, which really peaked in a lot of outright vitriol during the 2004 election. When people can cluster into niche communities and get their social needs met, they do (in the real world, yes, but virtual networks sure make it easier and let you be part of many more). When you interact more with like-thinking people, you can become less adept at dealing with divergent opinions, and it becomes very easy to demonize and mock those who don't agree with you.

If you've ever lived in a small town, you know what I mean. I might really deplore the politics of the Deputy Mayor or the guy on the board at the church. I might think he's a total ass. Meanwhile, though, he helped me dig my car out during the blizzard, and he is my kid's Scout leader. Now, he might or might not still BE an ass, but the forced connection I have with him through physical proximity and mutual needs means I probably have to be decent to him and perhaps will even develop a grudging respect for his views, perhaps even a friendship where I can jokingly take exception to his views. Politics and demographics aren't everything, and physical real-world networks help build community where it actually might matter a great deal to you and your daily safety, opportunities, and quality of life.

I'm not saying The Hell With Twitter - I happen not to use it, but geez, I use everything else. I just think it's not quite right to suggest that there's never a downside to new technology. There's always both an upside (this solves a problem!) and a downside (this causes a different problem). The upside may very well outweigh the downside, and it's easy for people to run around with exaggerated fears that the downside will be the downfall of society, but historically, when technology changed, things did change: family life, transportation, what people did for a living, gender roles, role of children, you name it. Things do change. I just think it's worth talking about the potential changes new applications of technology can bring. IF there is something threatened that we don't want to lose, we can make a conscious choice to shore up that thing and work at maintaining it while integrating the new technology. In fact I suspect that's a lot of what's behind the recent upsurge in interest in community sustainability - that people don't want to completely lose a sense of where they are.
posted by Miko at 3:22 PM on May 6, 2008


I use twitter because/when I feel like it.
But it is by far the best thing for getting around international text messaging fees.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:25 PM on May 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I should probably explain. If you set direct messages to be sent to your cellphone as well as your email, and a contact of yours does the same, you can both message each other on twitter via your cellphone. It's pretty cool. Also good for text messaging people in the same country who you wouldn't give your cellphone number.
It's all around just a great way to stay in touch with my internet friends.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:46 PM on May 7, 2008


I signed up because I want to write a short story one sentence a half hour or so for 48 hours, marathon style, but am still in the "let's see how this thing works" faze.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 1:17 PM on May 8, 2008


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