Monday, July 9, 2012

Twitter Dot Com

I don’t “get” Twitter.  Maybe it’s my age showing, but I struggle to see the point of it.  Maybe I haven’t been using Twitter long enough, or maybe I’m not using it correctly, but the whole thing just kind of leaves me scratching my head in wonder.  Maybe it’s only meant for people under the age of 20, I don’t know.  One thing that I very quickly noticed though is that there are three types of Twitter users, and they are as follows:

Type 1 – Celebrity Tweeters
Celebrities use Twitter to promote themselves, and every inane detail of their lives, which we only find remotely interesting because, well, they are celebrities.  People have always been very fascinated with celebrities, and Twitter seems to provide the reading public the invitation they’ve always wanted to sneak a peek into the world of the rich and famous, as described in their own words, in as much detail as they can muster in 140 characters or less.  If you check the “following” list on 99.9% of the world’s Twitter users, celebrities will make up the majority of those being followed.  Comedians on Twitter make jokes.  We like that.  Musicians promote their albums.  We only follow the musicians we like anyway, so we like that too.  Actors and actresses either promote their new movie or television show if they are fortunate enough to have one, or if not, tell us about what type of coffee they ordered this morning, or post a photo of their pet wearing a hat.  This provides a rare “behind the scenes” glimpse into their real world, and we can’t get enough of that.  Athletes post photos of their swollen ankles and surgery scars.  For some reason we even like that too.  Very rarely is there anything posted of any major importance, however it allows them to say they are in touch with their fans, and we as fans eat that stuff up.  It puts a human face on people who have been elevated in the media to super-human status.  Beside the fame and fortune, it turns out they really are not all that different than we are.  And we like that.

Type 2 – Corporate / Informational / Blog Tweeters
This group submits posts about what’s going on in their specific lives, businesses, or specific areas of interest.  They post informational items, opinionated items, and a wide variety of items of a general nature.  Some of them have a small niche following, but the majority have one major insurmountable strike against them – they aren’t famous, which means in the Twitter world, they just aren’t that interesting.  People aren’t going to go out of their way to read what they have to say.  If people really want to hear what they have to say, most times they can read about it elsewhere, on different and more credible websites.  This isn’t what Twitter is about.  At last check my Twitter account for this blog had a whopping 6 followers.  Sure it’s lame, but it’s true.  For many people my blog isn’t that interesting.  I have a small group that like it and check back every so often, and that’s good enough for me.  I’m not upset by that, or offended in any way, that’s just reality.  They don’t need Twitter to find my latest blog post, they just go directly to the blog website.  Type 2 tweeters at best will only ever get a moderate following.  We know that.  We accept that.

Type 3 – Everybody Else
Every single person who has a Twitter account, and who doesn’t fall within the Type 1 or 2 groups above, is a Type 3 user.  These are average everyday people.  They are the nameless and faceless masses.  The vast majority of the millions and millions of Twitter users fall within Type 3, and they are both insignificant and significant at the same time.  Even though nobody knows who they are, without them, there is no Twitter.  They maybe have a few actual friends that they follow, but for the most part they are the ones that follow celebrities.  Twitter has been around long enough now that most people have come to the realization that other Twitter users really aren’t interested in reading about their lives, because, well, they aren’t famous.  Nobody cares that you read a good book, unless you’re famous, in which case we all want to read the same book too.  Ate at a good restaurant?  Don’t care, unless you’re famous, in which case we all want to go there too for the chance of seeing a celebrity there!  The power of fame is amazing, as are the lengths ordinary people will go to in order to feel closer to it.  Nowadays for the average Type 3 user, their Twitter time is spent sending messages to celebrities, asking for retweets or begging for some form of acknowledgement.  Somehow this is satisfying for them I guess.  When it eventually happens, and they are awarded their requested retweet, I can only assume it somehow makes them feel that for that brief moment in time they are somehow part of the club.  But then what?  What does that mean?  What’s the point of that?

I recently tried this out for myself, just to see if I could get a better understanding of what the attraction is.  So I tweeted a little blurb to a member of my favourite band.  To my surprise, he actually tweeted me back, not only acknowledging me, but even responding with a little statement of his own.  I have to admit, it was kind of cool at first, and provided a brief moment of excitement, but it’s not something I feel the need to continue to do.  It’s not as though I now feel like we’re best friends or anything.  I certainly appreciate his momentary effort to acknowledge me, but I’m sure he’s already forgotten about the whole exchange, and that’s okay.  In the scheme of things, it really isn’t a big deal, for him or for me.  Life goes on as usual. 

Celebrities who use Twitter knowingly chose to open themselves up to cyber-stalking tweets from Type 3 users, so I don’t feel sorry for them at all for having to deal with the constant barrage of incoming messages.  No harm done I guess, to each their own.  I suppose in today’s world of reality television, this is what people find entertaining.  I still don’t get it though, and can’t help but ask, is this really what Twitter was created for?  Really?


  1. I'm with you. Still struggling to learn how to use it most efficiently.

  2. I have to admit, now that I'm starting to use Twitter a little more, I'm beginning to see the benefits. Twitter's not so bad afterall :)