I think I finally understand what Twitter is all about. I know, I’m a little late to the game, but cut me some slack- technically I’m a GenXer not a Millennial. Both Facebook and Twitter are like parties, with a different set of guests and styles.
Facebook has always made sense to me. It’s like a giant online reunion of everyone you have ever met in life – a never ending gathering of friends and acquaintances from high school, college, every job you have ever had, a few parties, and inevitably includes some folks you dated, kissed, or crushed on. People know who you are but don’t necessarily know random things about your life or how life has changed over the years.
I’m not bothered by the voyeuristic quality of Facebook. In fact, I love it. It reminds you that much of life is about shared experiences, similar joys and sorrows, and that we are all more connected than we appear to be. Facebook keeps you updated on the basics and serves as a conversation starter, opening up the possibility of deeper discussions in person.
My guess is that younger folks (younger than 35) use Facebook differently, and there is more fluidity between online and offline interactions. But I can’t be sure (guest blogger anyone?).
Twitter, on the other hand, is like a giant party with everyone in the world. And you – yes you!- get to decide who to talk to (users) and what you want to talk about (hashtags). You can talk to celebrities and journalists or friends and colleagues. You can talk about causes, share news articles or jokes, or anything random that strikes your fancy. And you can do it in your pajamas – great for introverts!
On Twitter, you have to let go of the idea of “keeping up with it” and just know that its much more of a drop-in party, or a 24-hour a day global open house. You never know who will be there when you stop by, and no one gets upset if you have to leave early. You can be a wallflower and listen in on people’s conversations, you can talk to yourself, you can stick with a group of like minded people, or you can introduce yourself to that guy with a red boa talking about global warming. Some people will strike up a conversation back and others will ignore you. But there is much freedom and independence at the Twitter party.
More about how online-offline connections are enlivening in my next post, but here are some of my recent tweets to give you a sense of how Twitter is actually fun!
Why it’s fun: Ani DiFranco is my FAVoRiTe folk singer of all time, and even though she didn’t tweet back at me, I got all giddy and starstruck pretending to talk to her. And so clever I am – using her lyrics in a tweet!
Why it’s fun: I actually met Cecile Richards and told her this directly. She laughed and replied that no one had ever said that to her. But even if I had lost my nerve to approach her, I could have let her know how cool I thought she was.
Why it’s fun: This one really embarrassed our babysitter, but it was also a way to tell Teach for America how great she was!