Thursday, July 29, 2010

Window Tweetment

I have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a blog and it's already enough/plenty/on the verge of too much. Some people digg and delicious and Classmates and Flickr and Friendster and the list goes on and on. (I tried Library Thing briefly but that was too obsessive even for me.)

Do you tweet? "Tweeter" was my nickname when I was a kid, but as an adult I'm having a hard time coming up with things to tweet about. Location tweets are out--too dangerous. An occasional retweet is okay, but too many of those and you start looking lazy. And I don't want to be boring: I swear, some people will tweet about whether to have the chocolate muffin or the peach tart with their coffee. Do you care whether I'm cleaning the bathtub or stuck on a sentence? You do not.

I could surf the web for interesting websites or newsy bits to tweet about, but I'm not desperate to tweet. I understand the importance of platform, but mainly what I'm doing over here is trying to write.

Part of my problem is I have two Twitter accounts, one for PasadenaDP and one for me. I must shut one down. I think I'd rather be me.

What do you tweet about?

34 comments:

J.J. said...

I started a Twitter account because other friends were doing it. It kept my interest for about a 1/2 hour.

I go back whenever I get an e-mail message and see a friend tweeting every couple minutes. I'd go insane.

USelaine said...

For me, Twitter is about who I follow way more than what I tweet. At it's best, I learn things and engage in an exchange of thoughts with someone for a few minutes. I also follow some folks who also follow each other, so I can "listen" to their exchanges too. Other folks are good at posting great links. As for coffee and cookies, that stuff just sprinkles in to make an editor at Wired (for example) seem more human and humane between tweets about the latest gadget or science discovery. Hard to explain the value, because it's such an individual thing.

docker said...

What do I tweet about? You tell me: http://twitter.com/MMeters

-K- said...

Beginning with its rather goofy name, I just couldn't get with Twitter. I deleted my account probably just days before Twitter shut it down for inactivity.

And I'm still not sure what specific function it was supposed to fulfill.

Speedway said...

Like JJ, I started a Twitter account because other friends had. Was tired of it just about the time I set it up. It seems like that continual internal conversation we all have with ourselves, which mostly needs to remain internal.

We all know that we avoid in public the people who're talking out loud to invisible "others," only now, you can't tell, because so many people have "Blue Tooth" thing-ys. It works to the advantage of the phone companies, who've convinced us that we all have such *important* things to say, that it can't wait 'til we get home. Twitter seems like the text version.

Katie said...

First, very cool photo. As for Twitter, I joined when it was new after I saw an article that someone at NASA was tweeting as the Mars rover. That was sort of fun to follow for a while. When I was in Europe 2 years ago I enjoyed sending out tweets for the few people who wanted to know what I was up to (e.g. "Walk, cappucino, take photos, climb tower, take lots of photos, eat pasta, walk, eat gelato, go to torture museum, gelato, cappucino, walk.") but I don't really see the point at home. I do check it occasionally to see what other people are up to, but it's just another time waster and I'm trying to cut back on my computer time as the stack of books I want to read it getting out of hand.

Genie said...

I have a Twitter account but do not use it. There is just not enough time.

I love this photo with the angles, textures, shadows, mystery -- It has it all!

Susan C said...

I joined Twitter because so many friends and colleagues were boasting that their best assignments came from that source.

I signed up and found, yes, it had some value, but essentially boiled down to one more distraction. I still have the account, but haven't posted for months and rarely check. At first, I was nervous that I was missing out on something, but now I don't miss it at all.

Bellis said...

I've got a friend who tweets every few minutes, but I don't use it any more, it's pointless, though its sometimes useful for news if you want to know about an event or weather situation. Just use the Twitter search site (Google "Twitter search" - it's not run by Twitter) and read the tweets. When we had an internet outage, we could see from the tweets that it was widespread, and had nothing to do with our home system. At least it stopped me calling Charter Cable.

Petrea said...

Such an interesting array of answers. Like USElaine, I find value in following certain people (editors, agents, publishers, etc.). But I "unfollow" when there's too much useless stuff. Like more than one person said, there's not enough time to be wasting it on that kind of stuff.

I guess I don't have to be an interesting tweeter myself. I'll say something when I have something to say.

Susan Campisi said...

I set up an account to see what all the fuss was about but never used it. But I was at a Vroman's book signing for "Eat 2010 Los Angeles" and there was all this talk of gourmet food trucks that travel to different locations throughout the city. When I asked how you keep track of where they'll be, several people responded at once "on twitter!" I felt like I'd been living in the dark ages.

But I still can't get into it.

Virginia said...

I don't Tweet and you can't make me. WEll you can't TEACH me is more truthful. I"m not into the cell phone either. I loved it in Paris when we were trying to organize friends scattered all over for a gathering. It would have made Gen. de Gaulle proud. Other than that, I don't want to be bothered when I'm eating out, shopping or being with friends. I said I wouldn't do Facebook but that is creeping into my blog time now. I joined RedBubble to try and hawk my photos and guess what, it's a blog in disguise so I'm all commenty there too. Help me stop.
V

Margaret said...

I don't tweet. I just don't think I'm that interesting.

Petrea said...

Following food trucks is a good reason to use it. Following interesting things is useful.

Virginia, you've just talked me out of Red Bubble.

Margaret, you are that interesting. We all are! But I don't want to put personal stuff up there and my business stuff, argh! It seems repetitive.

altadenahiker said...

Are you cleaning the bathtub? I care.

pasadenapio said...

On Twitter I'm pasadenapio. I tweet about City of Pasadena events and services. I primarily tweet because it's there. I have just over 210 followers on Twitter, but nearly 800 "friends" on Facebook (and growing) so I use Facebook more often. I also get much more feedback on Facebook than I do on Twitter.

Like you, I'm also on LinkedIn (Ann Erdman) and have the blog, but I've drawn the line at all the other social networking sites that keep cropping up.

Shanna said...

I don't Tweet period. I just think it would be so intrusive to my thought process, or... make that daydreaming. But if other people want to, that's okay.

I have a note on my facebook page saying that I seldom remember to check facebook, so feel free to just email me.

Kat said...

Ugh. I have a twitter account too, but only use it to post my daily blog photos... and I've only got follower -- and I don't even know who it is! So much for managing my own publicity~!

I can't be bothered... it's too much information, too often. Facebook updates are already almost too much for me!

Kat said...

Ooh, also-- I do follow a couple of other people/friends.

Just to make it clear that I don't see EVERYTHING as all about me... :)

And-- I often wonder if I should check the accounts of some of my favorite businesses, etc., because some of them do "twitter only" specials...

Petrea said...

I made a bank deposit and stopped at the gas station to fill the tank. I picked up the bowl I left at Linda's three weeks ago. Pretty soon I'm going to sit on my back porch and drink iced tea and eat Maria wafers from Roma Market.

I follow some literary tweeters, a couple of lit agents and publishers. I find them interesting and I learn from them. I don't know that I have much to say to folks, though.

Ann, I follow you on Twitter. KPCC, too, and a few other local news outlets.

Linda Dove said...

I was converted to Twitter during the Iranian crisis last summer--it was THE best source of what was going on in Tehran. I had the news before the news stations had the news b/c they were using the same Twitter sources I was.

I have friends who *only* Tweet now b/c they prefer it to Facebooking, which tends to clog with old high-school and college friends. I have some friends who have private accounts with very select audiences so that they can tell the *real* (read: TMI) stuff that they can't post on FB or their blogs. I have friends who use Twitter for business and FB for pleasure--although they tend to Tweet about things that make them seem "human" to an audience that follows them b/c of professional reasons (Roseanne Cash is a great example of someone who tweets about her daily foibles to her fans). There are definitely different ways of using it.

Here's a tweet for you, P: Driving home from running errands eating my fave yellow cherry tomatoes like candy.

Because I didn't know that about you before. It's a detail in a narrative that brings you to life.

J+P said...

"I made a bank deposit and stopped at the gas station to fill the tank. I picked up the bowl I left at Linda's three weeks ago. Pretty soon I'm going to sit on my back porch and drink iced tea and eat Maria wafers from Roma Market."

Wow … have you got a sister?

Petrea said...

Do you think people really want to know I love the yellow cherry tomatoes?

Yes. The Iranian protests were the time I was most glued to Twitter. I took part by changing my location to Tehran.

I have two sisters. One sister and I have been exchanging emails about dog park dog fights today. The other one would probably love some of the librarian tweets I follow.

TheChieftess said...

My Twitter account lasted all of about 15 minutes...

Don't want to know what everybody's thinking every minute of every day...nor do I want to tell everybody what I'm thinking/doing every minute of every day!!!

J+P said...

I'm thinking of a number between one and eleven. That's what I'm doing, too.

See? Twitting is E-Z.

Linda Dove said...

What I think is that we give these details (yellow cherry tomato details) to characters in our fiction every day. What we create on any social media platform (be it blog, FB, or Twitter) is a character. The character happens to share our name.

So, yes, I think people want to know. I work hard in writing workshops getting my students to include such details for readers. That's what makes for good story-telling.

And, as I suggested earlier, I think it makes for good copy. Social media is here to stay, and we might as well use it to shape our stories. A photo of you brushing Boz's teeth is the same as a tweet saying same. You create an online life for yourself, no?

That said, my tweets are private. So much for narrative.

Petrea said...

Linda, you've just given me a new way of thinking about this. I'll ponder. Thanks.

Gina said...

I don't tweet. I just don't see the point.

I do like that window, however, diamond muntins are a thing of beauty.

J+P said...

Ah, Linda—the vicissitudes of narrative in a post-narrative culture! The internet churns reams of prose with all the opaque perishability as a Franz Kline factory, but some of us harbor narrative in a secret corner to parse it out to the world.

You're right about the characters we play in the ethersphere—not for nothing was the most profitable movie this year named after avatars—and that has value, these days, like a great, attenuated masque … now I'm Ariel; now I am Death, destroyer of worlds. Or: I'm Tiffany, an attractive, curious 14-yr-old with poor judgement …

As a professional writer, my platform was built in other, pre-Twitterian ways. If I were starting out now, or changing mediums (as Petrea is), I'd consider it, if it weren't too great a timesink. At 51, my days of playing the masque to my friends are over. I'm after bigger game.

Lori Webster said...

Linda thinks the same way as I do about Twitter, but for differing outcomes. For business, Tweeting and Facebooking gives me an outlet that tells people there's a real person who cares deeply behind the storefront. Personally, I love Facebook because it helps me stay in touch with a very diverse crowd. Did you know that we're up to just about 500 fans for the store? Yay!

It does consume time....a lot of time. Happily plowing through each bit of minutia, I sit and ponder......

Petrea said...

Yeah, Facebook is working for me, but that may be because it's been around longer and I've put more time into it.

I think businesswise, you have to go where your audience is. And these days they are in many places. At least those places are mostly on the web.

USelaine said...

An imperfect analogy, but Twitter is like people-watching from an outdoor cafe seat. Only it's up to you to populate the plaza by choosing who you follow. They choose how often to walk by, and what thoughts to broadcast. You can silently watch, or you might wave to someone you are amused by. You overhear two of them talking, and they know they are being listened to... Am I stretching this?

Yes, it can take too much time. But I don't have television, or magazine subscriptions, or even a mobile phone, so Twitter is my source for breaking news links, and for intelligent commentary on the latest political kerfuffle, and for museum events in the SF Bay area. I can separate those interest areas into "lists" so I can catch just the things I want at any given time. I totally understand that many, if not most, people get that info from other media. They don't need/want to converse with the source, or click on links to travel writers' blogs, or laugh at a random "funny" from an unexpected person and be answered for it. The Twitter plaza is a strange place. Many people I respect and admire have decided not to use it. To each his own media plumbing.

Lori Lynn said...

Oh I am challenged with this too. I only tweet about what I just posted on my Taste With The Eyes blog.
LL

Petrea said...

I think that's a legitimate use of the medium, Lori. A lot of people do that. I thought to do it with PDP but since it's a daily blog it's a) another daily task and b) probably not necessary, as it's (duh) a daily blog so people know there's a new post every day. You can set up automatic feeds but I never did figure them out.