Not twittering yet? Wow, you are so yesterday, last week, a part of the LiveJournal or Yahoo! crowd. C’mon, get with the program and start laying out your interesting, exciting life, one 140-character chunk at a time!
After all, Shakespeare didn’t limit himself to just one 140 character play. In fact, I’m not sure what Shakespeare would make of twitter. Indeed, I don’t think you’ll find anything approaching Shakespeare’s quality in the microblogging service of twitter.
Instead, what you will find is exactly what you would’ve found about 8 years ago when blogging became all the rage, and everyone decided to start one (only to abandon it 3 weeks later for lack of anything interesting to say). Thankfully, twitter to the rescue! I mean, if you can’t find something interesting to say in a mere 140 characters, what are you on this Earth for?
For the rest of us, here are the 12 Great Things about Twitter(tm):
1. Twitter is intrinsically democratic… Or is it socialist? Everyone is your comrade, even celebrities. That’s probably more like socialism than it is democracy I have to admit. Perhaps Twitter is advancing socialist principles without knowing it?
2. People on twitter can be both boring and interesting to watch. Whee, look, someone posted what they ate for breakfast, again, for the 1,382nd time. Yay! It’s like watching bread rise in an oven. In the dark. That someone forgot to turn on.
3. People have described twitter as everything from an endless stream of conversation to a cocktail party, to a drunken date you forgot you had when you woke up the next morning. Unlike the drunken date, however, twitter won’t make you regret going to bed with it.
4. Twitter is your local pub, except better, because they aren’t actually people you know or care much about (especially if you’re following over 100 people), and you won’t actually notice if they pass away, get married (unless they livetweet it, yeah baby!), or otherwise do something interesting. But you won’t really know it’s interesting, because you’re already following way too many people to keep track of them all.
5. Twitter is playful, just like blogs used to be, but then weren’t any more because people realized you could connect the dots between what you wrote on the blog and a person’s real life. Oh, and I guess twitter will quickly wind up the same way as our online lives are all-too-quickly merging with our real-life personas. Except Second Life, of course. That will always be the safe place to have sex with a purple-headed alien.
6. Twitter breaks news before everyone else. How else would I learn about your Aunt Maggie’s heart attack, the shoplifting at the local Quik-E-Mart, or the fact that your dog is the neighborhood’s primo Daddy? In other words, news that doesn’t directly affect you or have any real impact in your life (but makes you feel excited as though you were actually a part of the story in some way). Wow, look, Twitter reported something 7 minutes before mainstream news caught wind of it. Yay! I am so up-to-date.
7. Who needs to get actual work done when you could twitter instead? Tweetdeck — a popular twitter application — basically forces you to take up your entire screen to twitter all day. So either you have multiple computers (you rich geek son-of-a-gun), or you’re not doing much other than twittering. A procrastinator’s dream (or nightmare!).
8. If you spend enough time on twitter, you can actually be your own investigative reporter, rooting out twitter corruption and insincerity amongst your vast number of followers. And since we’ve already established you’re not actually working much (see Great Thing #7), you can devote vast amounts of time that previously you had devoted to contributing to society for the public or your own good. Thank you!
9. Just like the now-hopelessly-outdated Web before it, there’s a lot of charity and nonprofit uses going on with twitter. Now, not only will every charity have one of those stupid, hopelessly outdated “websites,” they can also twitter their cause so that every time you RT them (retweet them), they will donate a penny to their own cause. Feels good to do something good without actually have to expend any real money or effort on your part, doesn’t it?
10. Who says Twitter isn’t just a popularity contest? Don’t tell that to people who get excited when a celebrity follows them, or some random Hollywood actor this week announces yet another “challenge” to another celebrity actor or mega-corporation. But unlike real life, you are an amazing part of this social experiment. How? Well, because you’re following these people. Ah. Yeah, just like reading “Us” magazine in real life.
11. Supposedly Twitter can drive traffic to websites, just like digg used to. We still get more traffic from Google, but I’m certain that’s going to change as soon as 10 million people retweet this article.
12. The twitter verbs can’t be any more exciting! Look, we’re all birds, flitting around hither and thro! You can tweet, twitter, or as Stephen Colbert might say, “twatted.” We’re no longer in a universe, we’re in a twitterverse. And when someone tweets, you can retweet their message to your own followers (much like the old telephone game — except there’s no telephone, no secret, and nobody much cares). Yes, this is flighty stuff.
(If you’re haven’t guessed, these are completely tongue-in-cheek. I’m sure Twitter has a legitimate use; I just haven’t figured it out yet. 😉 )