Search This Blog

09 September 2012

Learning to read on Twitter

I have recently joined the mixed ranks of Twitter.  Mixed because there are so many kinds of people on it with different interests and so many kinds of companies trying to sell you something.  My favorite so far has been a tweet about how you can increase your audience on your blogs and twitter; for a mere 89.95 euros they will send you a whole article with fail safe tips.  The following tweet gave you ten tips for free.  I tried to link my two blogs to Twitter (Ex Libris Miriam and Atypical Miriam) and from there received many (who to follow on Twitter) suggestions based on book loving people.  It excites me and discourages me how many people review books, comment on books, sell their own books and generally disagree about books.

Honestly, I thought that I might be a unique though small voice out there...instead I am so small I may as well not exist.  As for my voice well I guess I am being extremely subjective and hope that someone agrees with me; God knows many disagree with me. Uniqueness lies in the eye of the beholder.  So many people are apparently "unpublished writers who do not suck" that I am beginning to agree with the old adage "inside every person there is a book".

Mind you, I have only been exploring the world of books.  God knows how many topics there are under discussion without the obvious "hungry" tweet with the usual photograph of dinner.  One night I lost at Scrabble, nothing unusual or shameful in it, but I was nonetheless feeling slow and ignorant.  I brightened up over a single malt scotch that BPR and I had bought to try out.  I did some twitting to the effect of "I"m soothing my pride with a single malt scotch...  Suddenly I was bombarded with twitter follow suggestions for whiskey lovers.  I do follow one now.  It was with great hope that I did several tweets about chocolate, you know craving, flavor and even a company I like (La Maison du Chocolat) and I received not one single suggestion for who to follow on twitter. Are the scotch drinkers more vocal than chocolate lovers?  Are they more tech savvy?  Are the twitter intrusive search engines not taking me seriously?  Weird and suspicious...

Twitter has amazed me and bored me by turns.  There are so truly witty and funny people out there who can convey their passions and wit in 140 characters or less, Stephen Fry comes to mind, but there are also some truly boring, lonely people as well who have nothing better to say than "bored", "hungry".  Then I go to the trends sections find the top ten trends include #DoYouRemember, #gofurther, #whatever and so on and so forth.  If people turn their twitter obsession and their time towards curing cancer and colonizing Mars, I would be able to book my tickets for next Summer in a cancer free world for my children.  World peace on the other hand is not going to happen on Twitter; too many people disgree with each other and read things that only confirm their own beliefs, moreover every single government agency with a computer in the basement is monitoring Twitter.  If they were ignoring it before the Arab Spring, they are not now.

Then, of course, there are the multiple types of slangs and abbreviations that people use to fit their thoughts into 140 characters.  These are also mixed with the slangs and abbreviations that are used by different sub-cultures and age groups as well as clubs, and special interest groups.  I currently receive tweets in three different languages and I alternate between feelings of confusion, paranoia and frustration.  Occasionally I get it and feel I'm in until I read the next retweet (RT) from my 21 year old sister.  I read out loud, sounding out the words trying different accents (Spanish writing in English or English writing in Spanish or Pocho) until I make sense of what is written... or not.  So far all this has been an education but here is the rub... at my age and given my limited time, is the slang used by my sisters' DJ friends worth learning?  I mean some comments are funny but I feel like my capacity to retain is limited or do I need to learn more about whiskies, new age writers and philosopher/comedians?


  1. Anonymous09:33

    hey miriam,
    twitter! this old fart is prob not going to join the twitter community in the near future. i applaud you dipping your toe in. my reasons for not trying it out are similar to yours. time, learning a new "language", time, and did i mention time? i do learn a lot from my own reading, and there is this very intelligent blogger i read.
    and this blog also hit another interest of mine. i don't drink a lot, but i enjoy trying different beers in social situations. scotch is my occasional alternate drink of choice. i am not a connoisseur but i like to sip a smooth scotch for a change. i don't consider scotch drinkers more vocal or tech savvy, but i do think they are intelligent.
    keep writing,

    1. Perhaps I am a snob but I only like smooth single malt whiskies. My favorite and the benchmark that I compare others to is Oban (14 years). Lagavullin is my second favorite... an acquired taste but worth while trying. Having said that, there are so many wonderful whiskies that BPR and I try something new now and again and enjoy it slowly. Let me know what you are trying sometime...