And a jolly good monday morning to you and you and you, oh fuck who are we kidding it’s a monday.
Here’s sunday’s column:
A MILLION MILES FROM NORMAL – By Paige Nick
Nowhere are boundaries less built up, or is etiquette more forgotten than on Twitter. Twitter, for those of you who don’t do it. Yet. Is a website where you choose who you want to follow, and then you and they get to comment on anything and everything, as long as it’s in 140 characters or less. To give you an idea how much that is, I’ve put the first 140 characters of this column in pink. So essentially whatever you want to say, you need to get straight to the point, which is kind of the beauty of Twitter.
Let me break it down for you in terms of South Africa, (don’t worry, this is about as mathematical as I’ll ever get). According to the stats, about a million of us tweet right now.
And I’d say that what we tweet about is around 40% interesting, inspiring and newsworthy, 30% personal conversations you’re merely eavesdropping in on, and 30% outright over-sharing or TMI (too much information). Just to be clear, unlike that first stat, these are complete thumb sucks, based on nothing more than observation and gut feeling. So hardly stats at all really, more like dodgy guesses.
Someone I used to follow recently tweeted: ‘I’m writing this tweet while doing a poo’. Really? And we all needed to know that because?
Other tweets you’ll find on your timeline that fall into the category ‘arbitrary’, range from things like ‘I’m eating orange marmalade on rye toast for breakfast’ to ‘My husband’s cousin’s uncle turned 56 today’, or ‘Found a great parking spot just outside the Pick ‘n Pay, must be my lucky day.’ Your lucky day maybe, for the hundred or so people who follow you, not so much.
According to research, various scientists around the world have proven that we each have anything from
12 357 (such a specific number makes you think they really did prove this) to around 70 000 thoughts on a thoughtful day. And now that there’s Twitter we get to verbalise 69 992 of them. You have to wonder why we feel the need to tell everybody exactly what we’re thinking every second of every minute of every day. Are our lives that interesting?
Sure if you’re a rock star, or a professional sportsman, and you go from throwing a television set out of a hotel window, to shagging a bevy of coke-whores, to getting arrested, chances are we’ll be a whole lot more interested in hearing your running commentary (Charlie Sheen is exhibit A – he garnered over a million followers in just 25 hours). Although if you’re compos mentis enough to be able to tweet that you just drank a bottle of Jack Daniels neat and then plugged one end of a set of jumper cables to your testicles and the other end to your V8, then I’m not sure you’re drunk enough to be doing that for real, and your credibility may have just gone out the window.
In comparison I don’t think fetching the kids from soccer and then making a tuna casserole should be a spectator sport. Are we destined to forever more give too much information out to a bunch of strangers?
Or should we take off our cynical pants for a minute and instead of writing it off straight away, also take a look at the other side of Twitter too. It creates an incredible sense of community. You’re never alone if you’re on Twitter. Log on with insomnia at 4am and you’ll find twenty three other people in the same boat. Watching the Mnet movie alone on a Sunday night? Oh no you aren’t, log onto Twitter and you can watch it together with dozens of people. And not only that, but news breaks faster on Twitter than any other medium, it’s completely revolutionised the way we communicate. And need to know anything, from the square root of Pi, to who sang that song, you know the one, it goes ‘la la la, dum de dum, la la la, through the tree… something, something…’ put the question out to the Twitterverse (Twitter universe) and you’ve got a pretty good chance of getting the right answer and a few wrong but funny ones too.
Nowhere will you find more interesting people linking to more interesting things. But it’s a little like shopping in a bargain basement; you need to trawl through all the bins to find the exceptional pieces. But do it enough and after a while you get better at knowing who to follow. And then the poo tweets, or the descriptive lunch tweets become like the small commercial breaks between the information-fest that is Twitter.
Care to join me? I promise not to tweet about my bowel movements, my tuna casserole, or my best friend’s husband’s cousin’s uncle. Unless he hooks one end of his jumper cables up to his V8, and the other end you know where.