Everyone’s All A-Twitter

Over the past few weeks or so, it has felt like Twitter is in the air. Obviously the 140-or-less service has been huge for some time now—duh—but lately it feels like every link I click takes me to an article or blog post about the best feeds, or exactly what to do, or, perhaps more importantly, what not to do.

First I read author Allison Winn Scotch’s blog post on how some authors annoy her with their self-promotion. Which led me to writer/blogger Nina Badzin’s list of Twitter do’s and don’ts. Then there was Time magazine’s recent list of the best Twitter feeds. Some of my favorites, including Mindy Kaling and Neil Patrick Harris were included…while others (ahem, R.L. Stine) had me sprinting to hit the Follow button.

When it comes to social media and connecting with other people, here’s my take: Facebook helps me connect with people I do know, Twitter helps me connect with people I don’t.

I am happy to “like” something or someone I don’t know on Facebook. I “like” authors and books and blogs and companies. But I am loath to “friend” a complete stranger. Something about it just feels, to me, a bit off. As if I’m creepily begging someone I don’t know to be my best buddy. (That said, when someone I don’t know friends me I almost always accept.) And even when I do become Facebook friends with someone I don’t know well, their status and photo updates rarely teach me about who they are, just what they did last weekend. I like Facebook for keeping track of my cross-country friends, who I can’t talk to every day or even every week, and for hunting down long-lost acquaintances. It lets me feel like I still know what’s new with them.

With Twitter, on the other hand, I feel like I can get to know someone. I may even go so far as to say I’ve made (virtual) friends through the service. A 140-character limit forces you to get to the heart of your message, and a personality often shines through more in a short quip than a long essay. Twitter feels conversational, and I have absolutely no qualms about following people I don’t know personally. That’s what it’s all about.

Lately, I’ve been focusing mostly on Twitter. (Follow me!) It seems a more acceptable forum for which to do the kind of social media connecting I’m interested in—namely to share links, comment on pop culture, follow interesting people and meet blog readers. I pretty much use Twitter as a place to share the random thoughts I’d reveal to my BFF if she were sitting right next to me while I’m watching TV. (Thus you may notice I do a large majority of tweeting at night, when TV commentary is overloading my brain and no one’s around to to share it with.)

For example, this tweet from Tuesday night when I was up too late and somehow found myself watching—stop judging me!—All About Aubrey  (it was late, I was desperate, I loved Making The Band…. I have no excuse): “Why does Aubrey O’Day keep saying on her show that she wants to be anorexic? Probably not the best choice of words.” No joke, I was watching that show and after the second time she referenced trying to act like “a good anorexic girl,” I looked around my living room for someone, anyone, to stare at in disbelief. Was this actually happening? Was Oxygen really airing it? But alas, there was no one to share in my horror, so I went to the Tweeple.

So that’s why I’m into Twitter these days. It’s most definitely no substitute for a BFF, but in the moments when you need to voice some snippeted pop culture outrage, or ask a question, or share your new favorite YouTube video, and your pals aren’t around, Twitter’s a decent ear.

Are you on Twitter? Which do you like better in the Twitter vs. Facebook debate? Which do you think is better for connecting?

15 Comments

Filed under 21st Century Friendships

15 responses to “Everyone’s All A-Twitter

  1. Hi there! Saw this in a pingback on my blog. Thanks so much for the mention! :)

  2. oh! And I love the premise of your blog. I’m from Chicago by the way. Highland Park. And I can relate to what you’re going through. My best friends either live in Chicago (my high school friends) or around the east coast (my college friends). I moved to Minneapolis, my husband’s hometown, soon after college. It took a long time to make close friends, but I definitely have them now. (I’ve been here 10 years!) It’ll happen for you.

  3. katieleigh

    I agree with your Facebook/Twitter summation – Facebook is for the people I know in real life, and Twitter is (mostly) for folks I haven’t met. (Though some of my witty, wonderful college pals tweet, too.)

    I do love Twitter for that quick gratification – you can make a comment to the Twitterverse and (hopefully) get fast feedback. And I have made virtual friends through Twitter as well.

    That said, I’m off it for Lent, because I was spending waaay too much time tweeting. So I’ll see you on Twitter…in about 4 weeks!

  4. LizC

    I’m on Twitter and I definitely use it more to follow people I don’t know than people I do. Oddly enough I’m loath to follow people I do know on Twitter because I post some ridiculous things on Twitter. Usually when I’m watching tv and I don’t want to clog up my Facebook feed with those things.

    Facebook is strictly for people I know and even then I’m selective (i.e. I will not add anybody who only knows me through work). Some people who add me get added back because we went to school together but almost immediately get hidden because it takes one update for me to remember why I haven’t spoken to them since graduation.

    My sister makes fun of me because a friend’s dog has more friends than I do on Facebook but Facebook has the most personal information about me on the internet and I’m not going to give people I don’t know access to that information.

    Still, I prefer Facebook to Twitter connection-wise. I find Twitter too difficult to keep track of conversations. Some people update so so much and I can’t be on Twitter 24 hours a day and I don’t have the time nor the inclination to go back and read every tweet I missed.

    • Lorrie Paige

      That’s why I keep a short list of people who I follow on Twitter. I’m one of those who reads–for the most part–ALL Tweets. I look at it this way, why follow them if you’re not reading their Tweets on a regular basis?

      I’m only Following 130 people.. Ideally, I’d rather have no more than 100–to keep it more intimate. So I’m always going over my list, checking to see who to Unfollow based on what I’m looking for in Followers, as I only follow people who Tweets a lot so I know more about them (or adding some to Follow).

      I work online so it’s not that hard in going back to read Tweets I’ve missed. I know each one’s personality and that’s what makes keeping a short list terrific.

  5. lawyerchik1

    I’m with LizC on Facebook – she said it very well, and I won’t repeat! :)

    As for Twitter: I’m not a big Twitter fan…. I have used it in the past, and it’s great for rapid-response communications (announcements, etc.). I’m not wired for that level of exchange, though. I need more time and sometimes more space than 140 characters. Plus, I felt that the people I was following who did use the service a lot seemed to use quips as a substitute for depth – it was almost a contest of who could “zing” first, and the people I was following were kinda mean-spirited about it. Judgy-wudgy, I know, but that’s my “take” on Twitter.

    • Lorrie Paige

      You can just Follow people who are really interesting to you. This way Twitter is like going to a large cocktail party of only people you are interested in! That’s how Twitter feels for me since I’m very picky about who I Follow.

      I choose people who I think would make a good friend for real, so thus get a pretty cool bunch of interesting people to Follow. :)

  6. Ali B

    I watched the Oscars alone and it was really satisfying to live tweet with others about what we had just seen. Especially about the dresses. And of course about the winners. Lots of back and forth with people I don’t know well or at all.

    Plus, it’s great to meet other activists and spread the word about various causes.

    I even have two accounts. One for my writer self (@alysonjane) and one for my activist self (@livinveg).

  7. Lorrie Paige

    I LOVE Twitter. I’ve been on it for almost a year technically, but just started really using it this year.

    I used to be on Facebook and MySpace, but have long since deleted my accounts from both. They are boring to me and only good for people who are popular and have lots of real, genuine friendships, IMO.

    Twitter is the only social network I have an account with. I only follow people/places (famous or not) that are interesting to me and they Tweet a lot–usually daily; if a person/place is that, and they respond to my Tweets sometimes and Follows me, I’ll follow them forever.

    Like most people at Twitter, I’m not there to make real friendships, but just to read interesting Tweets as I Tweet the same. It’s just a casual acquaintance relationship.

    BTW, I use the app, TwitLonger when I want to use more than just 140 characters.

  8. Facebook has always been for the people I know whereas Twitter has opened me up to a whole new world of people I don’t know. I have been active for the last 2 years and have met so many people offline in my city because of it. And the neat thing is when I do meet people at networking events, the ice has already broken because we connected on twitter and when we meet the conversation just continues.
    I also agree that it makes watching tv shows more entertaining..it’s the new water cooler.

  9. M

    I only follow 3 people of twitter. You, Charlie Sheen and an old friend who is an aspiring author. If Charlie weren’t going off the deepend, I probably wouldn’t follow him though. I tweet occasionally but I have no followers so it’s not a priority. I’m ok with not having followers though since I really just want to read what other people say. Now Facebook, or as it’s called in my house, Crackbook – well, that’s a whole other story. Like you, I never accept friend requests from strangers. I’m actually very picky about who gets accepted. I don’t feel the need to have 500 friends. In fact, most of my FB friends are from my very large family and it’s a great way to keep in touch.
    So I guess I agree, Twitter is for interesting strangers and FB is for people I actually know

  10. Suzannah

    Ok I feel real dumb asking this but, could someone explain tweeter to me? Not one person here ( not saying much my town has less than 2500 POP.) uses it. Not Facebook that is another story!

    • Hi Suzannah,

      Basically Twitter is a site where you can post mini-messages.. They must be 140-characters or less, but they are basically like Facebook statuses. People use it to post random thoughts or to share links or to interact with other (celebrities often respond to people on Twitter so lots of users like that….) The messages pop up in real time, like a Facebook newsfeed, so it is constantly refreshing. I find a lot of interesting links and news on Twitter!

      • Suzannah

        Ok, I was super annoying in college! But what is all the following certain people about? how do you know whose message you are reading?
        Sorry I just curious!

  11. Pingback: Who’s Your Type? | MWF Seeking BFF

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