Twitter For Dipshits
Let me say up front: I loves me the Twitters. I do. It’s a place with few rules but a lot of preferences. Everybody has their own way of using it. It’s not just a social tool. It’s a social multi-tool. Like the pliers? I like the tiny scissors. Dig the belt punch? I like the strawberry-scented butt plug.
So, when I talk about all the shit I’m going to talk about, take it with a grain of salt. In fact, take it with a whole salt lick. Pitch it right over your shoulder. (It might hit and kill a hobo. And nobody likes a hobo.) What I’m saying here, these are just my thoughts. My opinions. With Twitter, you do what you like. For instance, if you were to follow the rules put forth by the mighty Oatmeal, you might learn that you shouldn’t tweet about what you’re eating. Me, I’m jolly well gonna tweet about what I’m eating. You’re either gonna suck it up, or you’re gonna stop following me. And that’s okay. Them’s the rules in the Twitterdome. Two tweeps enter. One tweep leaves.
Facebook Is An Asshole
I want to be upfront with this: Facebook is an asshole. If you’re wondering, “Should I use Twitter? I already have Facebook,” just know that Facebook is a real dickbag. He’s gotten fat, that Facebook. Bloated on his own self-worth. He’s drunk with his own power. He’s like that Winchester Mansion — behind the scenes, some guilt-mad programmer’s widow is just building nowhere rooms and passageways into the network structure. I’m over there and it’s like whack-a-mole. I’m constantly having to hide people’s game applications. I thought taking care of Farmville and Mafia Wars would do it, but every day is a new photo application or, “Do you know what your friends call you behind your back?” or some asshole quiz like “Which character from Small Wonder are you?” Every five tweets, someone’s just hatched a dynocorn egg, or they’ve grown some kind of mutant varietal of man-eating corn over at the Monster Farm, or they want me to have some goddamn gift or poke or virulent strain of digital anthrax.
I can’t get rid of it. I go to Facebook, I feel under siege.
Hence, go to Twitter. Go there now. Do not pass GO. Do not collect your welfare check. Do not wash your hands. Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. And so on.
Don’t Be Sad If I Don’t Follow You
Hey, listen, let’s be cool about this. Are you cool? I need you to be cool.
You follow me on Twitter, I might not follow you back. Or, I might stop following you.
It is absolutely nothing personal. Some folks follow thousands of tweeps. They seem to follow anyone who follows them. That’s fine. That’s how they do the Twitters. But it tells me that they use it as a one-way street. They send out tweets, but don’t read missives from anybody else. Either that, or they have way too much free time on their hands.
Me, I follow 200 – 250 people. And I’m always adjusting that list, trying to tune the knobs so I get more signal and less noise. It’s like a radio station. I can only have so many presets. Don’t be sad.
Hey, it happens to me, too. I follow people, and they don’t always follow me back. Or sometimes you say shit on the Twittertoobs, and next thing you know, followers bail on you left and right. Curiously, I don’t lose followers when I tweet my vile, scum-oozing profanity, but last week I said something faintly mean about climate change deniers and I lost like, five followers in the next ten minutes. That shit happens. That’s okay.
The 25% Rule
This is how I do the Twitters:
- 25% for self-promotion
- 25% for random bullshit
- 25% as “trusted content filter”
- 25% replies
Now, to be clear, I just made that 25% number up. But it’s probably roughly accurate? Maybe? Sorta? I dunno.
To explain more clearly:
Random bullshit is easy. That’s just random bullshit.
Replies, you understand that, too. I reply to people. In fact, you could probably lump that right into the “random bullshit” header and rename this the “33% rule.” I leave that in your capable hands to decide.
Self-promotion explains itself, but I want to add a note here: I generally stop following people who are only self-promoters. I don’t mind that you do it. I do it. It’s part of the point. I follow certain people because I want to see what they’re doing. Got a new book out? New blog post? New album? I want to know about it. That’s a good part of why I follow you. But if your Twitterstream is just an endless parade of masturbatory links, I may politely label your tweets “noise” rather than “signal.” Ding. Unfollowed.
“Trusted content filter” is a fancy way of saying, I sometimes see things I think are awesome, and I want to show you those things. So, I make with the linky-linky, and you make with the clicky-clicky. And next thing you know, you’re watching a grainy video where someone hunts a unicorn for sport, or you’re getting an article about Secret Beardborn Superpowers, or you’re learning how to write haiku in arterial spray. Good times. Part of why I follow people is that they are providing me with a steady stream of information and entertainment. Writing tips. Cool thoughts on game design. News about TV shows. Anything and everything.
Back to the top, though –
Sometimes, I want to see the random bullshit.
I like it when people just… mouth off. They say witty things. They talk about the crazy stuff going on in their lives, good or bad. Twitter is like a conversation at the street corner. It’s just some folks hanging out, shooting the shit. Drop in, drop out. I want to hear what’s going on in “the neighborhood.” Sometimes, I just want to hear a little random bullshit.
Follow Friday, With Crazy Super Laser Precision, Pyoo-Pyoo
I am hereby changing my Follow Friday procedures.
You may do the same, or you may give me the finger and throw a bottle at my head.
I find the #followfriday phenomenon a little overwrought at this point. Not to say I don’t appreciate people including me in it. I do. I am very appreciative. I will note, however, that it rarely nets me any new followers. One here, one there, most times none at all. And, to be honest, I don’t usually become a follower out of #followfriday recommendations, either. Why is that, exactly?
It’s because the process generally lacks context.
Imagine: a friend of yours comes up to you on the street. They say, “Hey, you should really get together with some of my other friends.” And you’re all like, “Oh yeah?” And your friend is all like, “Yeah, you should really meet Mike Bob Bill Cassandra Betty Juniper Codpiece Hiram Ricky The Other Ricky and Little Junior.”
You’re left, blinking, jaw open. Who? What? Wuzza?
That’s kind of how I feel getting the #followfriday tweets from people:
#ff @scooter @junkins @dickboy @yellowsnow @rampantasshat @mikeyp @poopoopants @aceinthehole @skeevyguy69 @analchlamydia @cockchancre @petey
I’m like, “Who the hell are these people?” If I see my name, I’ll say, “Hey, look! My name.” And then I fade out.
But if you say:
#followfriday Man, you should really follow @yellowsnow because he makes me pee blood he’s so dang funny.
…then I’m far likelier to make with the clicky-clicky and check out his tweetfeed.
Again, you do as you like. From me, expect precision-honed followfriday recommendations. Like a laser, with laser sounds. Pyoo! Pyoo! BOOSH. FOOM. *screams of the dying*
Know That Sometimes, You Gotta Take That Shit To Email
Twitter is awesome for its brevity.
Let’s all try to keep it that way.
If you want to write a letter to someone, send a letter. Do not send them 527 postcards.
If you want to engage in a long conversation with shit-tons of back-and-forth, do not engage in a long-yammering tweet-fest. Take it to email. Or to a blog. Or condense your thoughts into one or two well-placed tweet bullets. Do not send a whole tweet fusillade, because if I happen to follow both of you, then suddenly I’m getting 100 fast tweets that argue which philosopher was sexier or some nonsense. More noise, less signal.
Again, you do what you like. You want to tweet dozens of tweets back and forth about one topic, that’s your bag of pretzels. I might bail on you, though.
Spambots: Collect ‘Em, Trade ‘Em With A Friend
This is just a fun game for you to try: collect spambots. It’s so easy to do! Tweet controversial phrases, and see how many you hook. It’s like fishing for retardobots. “Gay conservative abortion porn bondage Avatar Pauley Perrette Twilight real estate social media marketing Christians!” Go ahead. Tweet that. See how many you can hook. Compare scores with a pal!
Spambots in Twitter obviously do not understand Twitter. For them to function, I have to actively follow VickyTheSlut69. But I won’t. Because I know she’s a mule-kicked spambot. And yet, they persist. So, might as well use it and turn it into a pasttime. Am I right?
And, To Conclude
I was going to write up a list of Awesome New Hashtags I Just Made Up and also offer some tweeps I think you should follow (here’s a freebie: Roger Motherfucking Ebert). Fact is, though, I’m out of time. Lost is coming on. And you’re not going to get in the way of my Lost time, are you? I’ll kill you. I will stab you right in the lungs with this pen. And as you gasp for breath and your chest hole bubbles, I will turn on the TV and use your cooling corpse as a footrest. Know that. I don’t mess around.
I’ll get to those other topics in another post. I promise.
To remind: take no offense from any of this. Do with Twitter as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Or the twlaw? Can you really put “tw” in front of anything and make it work? Twork? Chuck Twendig? Mmm. No. I don’t think that really lays too well. Hrm.