Why Twitter?

I do Twitter. Don’t judge me, it’s just another ‘social media’ platform and LOTS of people do one or another of any number of such online communities. Twitter is mine. Of course I’m also on Facebook but that is rather more to keep abreast of family news and views whereas Twitter is about the wider, stranger-populated ‘out there’ community.

I’ve been on it for many years now having originally signed up when I was teaching IT and thought being abreast of new interweb developments was part of the job. If my memory serves me correctly it was being promoted with a simple question along the lines of “what are you thinking?” or “what are you doing?” and an exhortation to share these little gems with others who presumably would be waiting with baited breath for even the smallest crumb of information about what was going on in your life, like going to the dentist, the dairy or driving lessons (etc..) The assumption was that you would also be eagerly lapping up every word that hordes of people from all over the world- not just in your family, your community, your work, or your social circle of friends.

Naturally many, many people signed on but before long many saw it as being a bit of a chore, a joke, having no value for them, as being a platform for opinionated idiots/bigots/racists/politicians or any number of other reasons and left. Of course they were replaced by new hordes and so it established itself as a bit of a phenom (in the new vernacular).

I think it’s morphed a bit over the years and in each modified form attracted a different type of tweeter. There were those who stuck to the tried and trusted personal documentary, those who commented on events at home and away, those who promoted causes, those who used it as a platform for various skills they had (in particular photography) and of course there were the inevitable ‘mainstream media’ jocks and pundits who used it as a platform (soapbox) to have a crack out our celebrities, our leaders and our law-makers. I have found it very valuable as a place to get balanced commentary on a range of things from happenings in and around government (local and national), to news, to general ‘wordly’ things, It must be said, however that some of said media ‘peeps’ have been a bit holier than thou and a bit fuller of their own importance and things have sometimes degenerated into quite nasty argument with vitriol and personal abuse which I hope many found/find as distasteful as I. This has on occasions led to respected commentators deciding they didn’t need to be part of it and leaving Twitter. (The wrong people went!)

It was interesting to me during the election campaign how ineffectual Twitter seemed to be- there was plenty to have a go at the candidates over but I don’t know that Twitter really had the punch that I thought it should have. Of course I may just be following the wrong people? (I don’t think so.)

But of late there’s been a certain feel about Twitter. As a friend of mine tweeted this morning “Twitter seems to have lost its mojo!”

I always felt that Twitter was never as much about ‘ME’ as about ‘my’ – my opinions (as inane as they well may be), my observations (as wide of the mark as they well may be) and my reactions (as predictable or otherwise as they may well be) as well as allowing me to share links to things I find interesting, to share experiences I have had, places I’ve been, sights I have seen, and passing on others’ contributions that I’ve found as being worthy of support. But I hope not about ME.

Unfortunately there are many who don’t hold that philosophy as far as Twitter is concerned, and persist in self promotion, self congratulation and worst of all self pity.

OK- if you’re having problems let people know but those people have lives to attend to as well and in my experience I’m able to do that with a cheerier disposition if those around me are cheerful too. I’ll sympathise with you but I’ll probably be unlikely to be able to do anything but sympathise so telling me over and over or embellishing the basic ‘bitch’ isn’t going to make things any better for you or me. Think of something more pleasant to tweet about, or hush, please! (If I DO think I can help I think I’d prefer to do that on a one-on-one basis and so I’ll contact you via direct message and we can work from there!)

I also have a bit of a vetch against people who persist in posting interminable links or commentary on events they have a personal interest in and obviously believe I should as well! OK- post one link but then let me make up my own mind, please?

I saw a number of tweets (a LARGE number of tweets) of the same photo with exactly the same message. Why a LARGE number of tweets of the same photo and message? The person (who I follow) decided it would be a fun idea (I guess) to send it out to a big number of followers that we obviously both follow,  one follower at a time!!! Guess what- it wasn’t for me! By the way, the photo wasn’t sent to me!!

My timeline has been dominated (or cluttered) by (sometimes night-long and even day-and-night-long) group chats involving four or five people, at least a number of whom I follow hence the clutter, all of whom are having their fun with their clever witty repartee on this and that (and I don’t begrudge people having fun!) but which has little or no interest to me because I don’t share their current interest, their line of humour or the rather cryptic nature of their comments.

There are always other aspects of a Twitter timeline that can be irksome but I won’t go into those here, rather- how am I going to deal with these issue?

Shall I do nothing and continue to be annoyed and develop serious negative feelings against people who, by and large I have chosen to follow, and who I (mostly) quite like?

Shall I unfollow those people who are the worst offenders at any or all of the above, and by so-doing admit I am a bad judge of character having, (by and large) chosen to follow these people? Also by unfollowing make a statement to them that I made a bad choice following them, they are bad people and I want them to go away?

Shall I do something like going private or protected or whatever and reviewing my list of who I follow, but doing the diplomatic thing and telling one and all that I’m doing so and it’s a reflection on (almost) no one of them- ie. fib a bit?

Shall I mute those people who are the main offenders in the matters outlined above, meaning I won’t see what they are tweeting and will only receive their tweets if they are directed to/at me?

Or shall I bite the bullet and leave Twitter all together, thereby turning my back on a whole bunch of lovely people I’ve met, but whose details aren’t so extensively known that we can continue our association outside Twitter?

I think my answers to those questions are Nah! Nah! Nah! Ummm! Maybe.

First up though I will give muting a try and see what the effect on my timeline is- at least in this way I’ll not give offense, my timeline will become somewhat uncluttered, and of course I will find out exactly how much I am a part of these people’s Twitter world. THAT could be a salutary lesson in itself!

Watch this space? Maybe.