READ THE OTTUMWA POST HERE.
READ MORE SELECTED COLUMNS HERE.
CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW IOWASCRIBE ON THE TWITTER MACHINE
Exploring New Worlds On The Twitter Machine
By JAMES GROB
Ottumwa Evening Post
I've been on it for a while now, but I still haven't gotten this whole Twitter thing figured out. I do not see the appeal, and I'm not sure I'm doing it right.
Facebook was easy. You get in there, and you look for old friends. You give all your personal information to corporate giants so that they can sell you stuff directly. You post photos and videos of your kids, your cat, and what you had for lunch. You put up famous quotes and old AC/DC videos. You link to things you like. You "like" things other people link to. Sometimes you "poke" people. Sometimes you like what they like so much that you "share" them. This is the ultimate Facebook compliment.
People ask you to join things or to play games with them, and you tell them "no" because you aren't really sure what the game is, and this is a person who you barely know and haven't seen in 25 years, so why the hell would you want to play a game online with someone who you would never play a game with in real life?
Sometimes you get into arguments with people, and when you get really mad, you type things in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS to prove that you really, really mean what you're saying. Then you realize that you never could stand that pinhead back in high school, so why did you even bother to accept his friend request in the first place? So you "block" him. Then you feel kind of bad about blocking him, after all, he did give you a ride home from basketball practice that one time, so you unblock him and just "hide" him, so you don't ever have to see anything he says. So you're still Facebook friends with him, but you might as well not be, because there no longer is any interaction between the two of you.
You see, it didn't take me long to get Facebook figured out. I feel as though I am a master of Facebook now, and as long as they don't change the "timeline" or the "news feed" again, I'll be OK.
But then there's Twitter. You don't have "friends" on Twitter, you have "followers." And while people "follow" you, you "follow" other people. It already seems pretty creepy.
And there's no rhyme or reason to who follows who, and there is no requirement as to who follows who back. On Facebook, your friends are mostly people you know in real life -- or at least people with who you have either a common friend or a common interest. On Twitter, it's much more random and twisted. And the "hashtags" don't make any sense to me at all.
I have no idea who most of my Twitter followers are. And most of the people I follow have no idea who I am. And none of us gain anything at all from following each other. It's one of the most useless endeavors ever created.
For instance, I follow the entire cast of "Star Trek, The Next Generation." I don't know why. One night I thought it might be a good idea to follow them all, so I did. None of them follow me back. And none of them have anything to say that is even vaguely interesting. Actor Wil Wheaton, who played "Young Wesley Crusher" on the show, comes the closest to being interesting, but really, he isn't. He's just kind of annoying, like his character was on the show.
I also follow actor John Cusack. I like his movies very much, and think he is a fantastic actor and film maker. I have no idea what he's like in real life, but if his Tweets are any indication, he's a complete moron who is obsessed with government leaks and drone strikes in a way that is entirely unhealthy. I don't like the fact that one of my favorite movie actors is certifiably insane. I wish I would have never followed him.
And when I go back and read my own Tweets, I realize that I, too, come across like an idiot on Twitter. It's remarkably difficult to seem intelligent -- or even vaguely interesting -- in 142 characters or less.
The President sometimes sends out a Tweet. This week, his detractors have been making a big deal out of the fact that one of his Tweets contained a grammatical error. My thought? At least it contained SOMETHING of interest. No one else has anything to say on Twitter that even borders on intriguing.
I guess the one good thing about Twitter is that I have learned that famous people are just as stupid and boring and pathetic as I am, especially when faced with expressing themselves in such a minimalistic format.
So I'll keep Tweeting, at least for a while. It's the best way to keep up with my good buddies Wil Wheaton and John Cusack.
We're all going to make a movie together someday. We should call it "The Three Twits."