Twitter Twitter Twitter

I’m quoted in a Wall Street Journal column about Twitter by’s Senior Technology Editor Julia Angwin, a college friend of mine, in which she divulges Twitter performance anxiety, and I, the man who Titters on his sock-wearing status (currently: OFF) tell her to relax and have fun with it. Because it’s not Shakespeare. Unless, you know, you ReTweet him. It’s also got quotes from Wil Wheaton, who is just everywhere these days, apparently. Luxuriate in its geekery.

30 Comments on “Twitter Twitter Twitter”

  1. Ooh, I have nothing to say, but I can’t resist being the first person to comment on a Scalzi thread. Erm . . . I can’t believe I’m following a cat?

    And what am I doing up at 4:18 a.m.?

  2. Well, that’s heartening. The Times here in London cracked open a barrel of Freud-flavoured whupass on Twitter the other day. Apparently it’s only used by narcissists.

    (Reporting for staring-at-myself-in-the-mirror duty!)

  3. The last several Doonesbury comics match my opinion on Twitter.

    I want people to present finished works of some value, to spend some time even if it’s on a blog entry. Honest, I can wait.

    “We will post no text before it’s time.” should be the motto.

  4. Paranoyd: Twitter is a repository of short messages.

    A Twitter poster can choose to make her messages public or only available to those she approves to read them. Twitter readers can choose who they’d like to follow on a regular basis – “show me each new post from her”, that is. A variety of tags and tools also allow for following topics, by subject and by whatever happens to be popular at the moment.

    And that’s all, really.

    I find it very handy because (as folks may have noticed) I get wordy, and the 140-character limit forces me to have a point and be brief about it. Mostly I use it for idle chat with people I like to be in touch with, but I’m also finding it handy for sort of zeroth-draft thinking about stories and day-job projects. It’s definitely helped sharpen my exposition, I’m finding with the story in progress at the moment. It’s not for everyone, but then what is?

  5. Tudza: Do you hold conversation to the same standard? You never kick back and chat, or ramble on about something of interest? Did you never make a phone call just to visit with someone? The whole point of Twitter is that it’s that kind of ephemera. It seems bizarre to me to insist that simply because it’s delivered a particular way, it has to meet a standard that rules out a huge chunk of how human beings actually communicate.

  6. One last thought and then I go fix some breakfast.

    It baffles me that, here as with so many things, people seem to get so worked up over other people’s chatter.

    I don’t do SMS, but I’m not bothered by people texting around me. My old X-Box died and I haven’t gotten around to replacing it, but I don’t mind people using X-Box Live. There are lots of things I have no interest in doing…so I don’t do them.

    It’s one thing if people are neglecting actual responsibilities for the sake of chatter. But I don’t see much sign that that’s happening – specifically not more than with e-mail, forums, and such. It’s just very tiresome sometimes to see so much dudgeon spent on something that, from my vantage point, is as much worth making a fuss over as brown slacks versus blue jeans, or bangs versus hair combed straight back. I don’t feel like we’re called on to have an opinion about everything, nor to make sure that as many strangers as possible know about our disapproval.

    Now for a breakfast burrito.

  7. >It baffles me that, here as with so many things, people seem to get so worked up over other people’s chatter.

    Well, context is important. Some people are fascinated by it because they (like paranoyd) don’t ‘get it’. I’m an introvert myself, so gravitate toward email because of the slow contemplative nature of the dialog. So it interests me when people have behavior I don’t exhibit. And then you have the feeling of technology passing you by, even though its a willful choice.

    Some people are hostile to it because they (perhaps incorrectly) see it as ‘if you twitter, you spend less time emailing/blogging/calling/visiting which I view as more meaningful’. They fear it’s a replacement rather than an additive form of communication. Now clearly this is not always the case, but I understand the concern in the same way people view TV as having replaced books.

    And some people dislike how other use it without applying social niceties to it. People twittering in a crowded room doesn’t bother me. Doing it on a date is rude, and the social equivalent of standing up mid-sentence and talking to someone at the bar. But since it’s a new form of the ‘kick back and chat’ people aren’t adopting the social conventions that need to go along with the tech. Again, obviously not all people in all cases – but I see it enough that it irritates me… which make me unreasonably hostile to the tech, as opposed to just shaking my head and moving on.

  8. My favorite explanation of Twitter came from our esteemed host the other day:

    My wife, explaining Twitter to our daughter: “Twitter is what daddy uses to tell 4,000 people he is bored.”

  9. wil wheaton?? the absolutely least credible character on ST-TNG. i mean, what captain in his/her right (or left) mind would entrust the helm, and the lives, of a small city to some doe-eyed teenager, however savant he purportedly was? wheaton was to star trek what richard beymer was to west side story — a failed marketing tool to inject a new teen heartthrob into the cast. lame. i mean, he NEVER HAD ANYTHING ORIGINAL TO SAY.

  10. You’re confusing Wil Wheaton, actual human being, with a character he played on a TV series once. Also, Wil is a good friend of mine. So, you know. Be nice. Or I’ll have you consumed by ferrets.

  11. you are correct. i realized as i hit the “submit” button that i should have drawn that distinction. i think my assessment of the reasons behind his character’s introduction remains valid, however. my apologies to wil the real live person. ferrets, eh? i’ve heard they taste like chicken.

  12. Twitter is a site where you can say something to Stephen Fry, and have it ignored, because 26,423 other people also said something to Stephen Fry in the last hour.

  13. I don’t use Twitter myself, but find reading John’s tweets here on the Whatever rather interesting. It’s not the socks and the cats, it’s the conversations. It’s fun to imagine what the other half/third/sixteenth, etc. of the chat must be.

  14. I got a Twitter account because I was curious about Twitter. I now have more connection with a couple of long distance friends than I previously had because of Twitter. And I’m following some people on Twitter merely because their Twitters entertain me. Brent Spiner’s Twitters are very funny. If I’m having a rough day, I can always take a short peek at Twitter and something there will make me smile. Sometimes I just Twitter to blow off steam and get a response that buoys me. I don’t think of myself as needy or narcissistic either.

  15. @15 abi Ferrets live on high protein diets. I’d say if you taste like meat, then they’ll be happy. That being said, my understanding is that humans are likely to taste similar to pork (although I have no firsthand knowledge) so, perhaps, we’re ferret bacon!

  16. A Tittering Scalzi sounds like the type of bird you only see in the Pacific Northwest, and only if you happen to be wearing socks that day.

  17. Real-life anthropophages of the past hundred years have reported that the long pig actually tastes more like beef. It’s called long *pig* because in the societies where it received that name, the diners had no cows.

  18. Scalzi, given HOW LITTLE you tweet, that YOU were asked to comment indicates that you have Broken Through and are now Someone To Be Asked.


  19. I absolutely avoided Twitter. Until this post. I blame you for getting me on Twitter, John!

    …now we’ll see if I do anything with it.

  20. I just tweeted about accidentally dropping my keys into the pocket with my fountain pen. This matters to me and might be interesting to my pen-geek followers, but it’s not looking like life-changing.

    I have not yet tweeted about socks, though. (One sock and one cast, btw.)

  21. I just tweeted about accidentally dropping my keys into the pocket with my fountain pen. This matters to me and might be interesting to my pen-geek followers, but it’s not looking like life-changing.

    I have not yet tweeted about socks, though. (One sock and one cast, btw.)
    Sorry, wanted have mentioned great post! Waiting for your next one!

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