I’ll be the first to admit that I was not an early adopter of Twitter. I didn’t get it for a long time. I just couldn’t see how it was different and better than Facebook and blogging and everything I was already doing.
Then I met The Boy and he was on Twitter a lot. Being long distance (and before such apps as Whats App allowing text messages over data instead of using up a phone plan), we would tweet each other all the time. And then I realised that hey, this Twitter things was fun and cool and whatever you made it. Sure, there were (and still are) those people who were tweeting inane, random stuff and those spending hours crafting the ‘perfect’ tweet but most people were just connecting. It was more real-time than Facebook and more conversationalist than blogging. It was immediate gratification in a fast-paced world but somehow still intimate and engaging.
In short, I fell hard for Twitter. But not hard enough to become entirely obsessed. I didn’t then and still don’t tweet about what I had for lunch (which is what everyone who’s never even looked at Twitter for two minutes assumes we’re all doing) and I don’t usually feel the need to announce a Twitter ‘break’ amid fanfare. I have my weeks of constantly refreshing the screen and following conversations intently and weeks of barely opening Twitter at all. There are days where I feel invisible, as if I’m tweeting into the wilderness, and other days where I can forget that I’m working at home alone because I’ve built a virtual office around me.
And this is why I hate those people who have never looked at Twitter, never spent some time following some conversations, never asked questions to try to understand the whole shebang. They assume that it’s useless because they don’t get it and they don’t get it because they assume it’s useless. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard two freelancers – a writer and an editor – tell me that we shouldn’t bother with Twitter since it’s a waste of our marketing time and both times it’s emerged that these supposedly knowledgeable freelancers have no idea how Twitter works. That’s great for them but they’re advising a whole new breed of freelancers that it’s pointless and that’s wrong. Perhaps they’re doing fine without it but for so many people it’s a a way to connect and market themselves. More importantly, it’s a source of knowledge and it’s just fun!
Next time someone tells me that they’re not on Twitter because it’s all about what you ate for lunch, I’ll let them go on. Once they’ve finished their rant, I’ll open up Twitter on my iPhone and show them how amazing it can be. Hopefully nobody will have tweeted a phone of their lunch though.