There Is No Wrong

By Deane Barker on October 6, 2008

You’re doing it wrong: Aaron called me out today on my use of Twitter.

Being new to twitter, Deane is still concerned with how best to use the service. When he looks back at each tweet, he’d like to be able to say, “yep, that’s a complete, cogent thought. It’s a mini blog post.”

I knew someone was going to take umbrage at that post, so I’m guess I’m glad it’s Aaron because I don’t have to worry about him being pissed, us being arch-rivals and all.

Regardless, Aaron goes on to say this:

But Twitter doesn’t ask for anything more than an answer to the question: What are you doing?

So, in this regard, learning about the non-magical characteristics of ligers and tigons really doesn’t give any clues as to what Deane is up to.

Aaron is right — I don’t generally Twitter about what I’m up to, mainly because I struggle to think that anyone would give a crap. But, contrary to Aaron’s claim, does Twitter really ask anything of anyone?

I like Twitter as a micro-blogging engine. It allows me to blog about small things that (1) don’t really fit the theme of Gadgetopia, and (2) are frankly too small and insignificant for an actual blog post. So, as wonderfully hip as the “you’re doing it wrong” meme is, I have to say that there is no wrong. There’s just…different.

What’s interesting is that while I may come off on the surface (and in that blog post) as being very dismissive about the ephemera of Twitter, I’ve found two instances in the last week where I have very much enjoyed following people’s lives.

First, Aaron went to Atlanta. I had never heard of Webmaster Jam Session and knowing he was going there prompted me to check it out, and knowing is half the battle (“Yo Joe!”). (Besides, knowing when he was “wheels down” in Minneapolis let me know how much time I had left to put the explosives under his car…)

Second, my friend Carla had her in-laws over. During this process, she wrote some heartwarming little tweets:

Excellent evening of girlie talk & pizza. […]

Got a massive bag of apples from aunt luella. We’re gonna have apple crumble for a week! […]

Just dropped $30 on goods being peddled by adorable nephews. […]

Going for a walk in Newtonhills then watch my niece hit a homerun or two.

I have never met Carla’s family (in fact, I’ve only been in Carla’s presence a half-dozen times), but I have to admit that I smiled a bit every time I read about something else they were doing. I have no idea why — I really don’t.

I think I’ve identified three types of Twitter users:

  1. The Micro-Bloggers (me, for instance)
  2. The Auto-Biographers (Carla, Aaron)
  3. The Comics (Joe, and occasionally Aaron)

The first two we’ve talked about. The last one are people who trying to be as laconically funny as they can. Sometimes they succeed (Joe, in particular, is funnier on Twitter than he is in-person, and he’s pretty funny in-person), and sometimes they don’t. Remember, folks, just because what you write is enigmatic and oblique, doesn’t mean it’s automatically funny.

But, in the end, I’m just a Johnny-come-lately to the Twitter scene, and I’m desperately trying to make some sense of it. I struggle with disorder and randomness, and Twitter has that in spades. I have to fit Twitter into some neat little box, and I’m going to do it with relevance and cogency, dammit!

Of course, I only have 44 followers. So, really, who cares?

What This Links To


  1. Twitter does ask “What are you doing?” It’s the label of the textarea that you twitter into. Don’t you have a team of fact checkers working at Gadgetopia?

  2. It’s the label of the textarea that you twitter into.

    Huh. Look at that.

    I post via thwirl. I think I’ve used the Web interface only a couple times.

    Well, in the end, I reject your reality and substitute my own.

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