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Monday, September 30, 2013

Can you tweet?

Written in response to http://writing.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981957642 but only half the required length (250 words instead of 500) 'cause I used the other half trying to log onto Gather.

Shortly after we moved to the States, someone asked if I used alcohol. Wondering briefly why they cared about my cleaning products I answered, “I’m not sure what’s in this brand.” But I do drink wine and my questioner took offense at my misunderstanding.
Using Twitter may be a similarly incomprehensible source of unutterable confusion. I search for hashtags (#5minutes, for example, when advertising 5-minute stories, or #’random-string-of-letters’ when supporting a random-string-named tweet group). I hover my mouse over a resulting miniscule splurge of pre-shrunken information, then click on the little blue “retweet” that appears. It’s almost magic, but I’m still not sure if it’s “using,” “abusing,” or merely failing to use the song of the birds.
Hashtags let people search for something—like #5minutes—and get a filtered list of random results. If you want your message to go to someone you don’t know, they’re worth a try. Retweets mean the message gets sent out again, so more people searching might find it, maybe, if the haystack’s aligned with the right side of twitterdom. And tweet groups mean a group of friends, or e-friends, agree to retweet each other’s messages, thus expanding the amount of e-verbiage in the e-universe.
My Mum once asked what I was doing on Twitter, and why the text on the page made nothing vaguely resembling sense. “Oh, I’m just tweeting,” said I.
“Birds tweet.”
“I’m using Twitter.”
“Little old ladies twitter.”
“I’m marketing.”
She wasn’t convinced, so we both “used” another glass of wine.

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