Twitter is not Another Outlet for you to Tell us About Mundane Shit

February 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

My, how the times have changed! Just a few short years ago, I wrote an epic J.R.R. Tolkien-esque trilogy that detailed my biggest Facebook pet peeves. (Here are the links for part one, part two and part three.) Those three blogs were almost certainly my most widely read and definitely received the most comments when I imported the blog on Facebook (32 for part one, 49 for part two and 28 for part three).

I must have struck a chord because the feedback was unbelievable and ranged from supportive/appreciative (9%) to sarcastic/witty (90%) to openly defaming me (1%)* Of course, I reveled in the attention, which is why I wrote two sequels to the original. Sadly, I had to retire my Facebook blogs for five reasons:

  1. Facebook changed its format multiple times, and made some of my pet peeves obsolete.
  2. I didn’t want to milk the idea too much. You gotta get out when times are good.
  3. I had pretty much run out of ideas.
  4. Recently, from what I have observed, many friends have decreased their Facebook use or gotten rid of it altogether…
  5. …Because Twitter has emerged as a legitimate rival!

*Example: My number one pet peeve: Spencer Engel’s gay ass pointless blogs that he insists everyone read because he thinks he’s the shit and ultimate writer, when really, he’s just proving he’s a jackass because he’s insulting all of his friends. What a great guy!

Personally, I believe Facebook will always be relevant, and I’m definitely going to continue using it because Facebook allows you to do a lot of things that Twitter doesn’t. However, I find myself primarily using Facebook to comment on friends’ wall posts and statuses rather than posting original thoughts or links. Why? Because that’s what Twitter is for. And I think a lot of Facebook users are finally catching on because I’ve had a lot of friends start following me on Twitter over the past couple months who I never thought would join. My friend Brandon’s status summed up my feelings perfectly the other day.

If you’re noticing a decrease in the number of Facebook statuses from your friends, it’s cuz all the cool kids are goin to Twitter

Nicely said, Brandon. But now that we have all these new users on Twitter, I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem somewhat clueless as to how to use it. I feel your pain. You won’t believe this, but I actually started a Twitter account in August 2007. I have no idea why, and I don’t remember doing it. I just remember that I had to start an account when I started working for the Columbia Missourian two years ago, so I signed up using my regular username, only to be shocked that some asshole was already using @Spencer99099 as his Twitter handle.

Turns out that asshole was me. As you can see by the screenshot below, I had NO CLUE how to use Twitter. I was very close to closing my account after I was done with the Missourian, but then Bill Simmons joined, followed by many more of my favorite writers, news outlets and celebrities. Eventually, in early 2010, a bunch of my friends, including Brandon, joined and I suddenly found my stride on Twitter. I found out that it’s OK to post 8 to 10 times per day, just as long as those posts are clever**.

**One could argue that cleverness is the name of the game on Twitter. If you use more than the maximum 140 characters, Twitter won’t let you post it and admonishes you by saying “Your tweet was over 140 characters. You’ll have to be more clever.”

Since my epiphany, Twitter has become a must-go-to site every time I get on the Internet, along with Facebook, email and ESPN. Of course, that also means that I’ve spent enough time on Twitter to notice the following five pet peeves. So here goes. And remember, I’m not mad now, but if I have to write a couple sequels to this, then the venom will increase exponentially.

1. We Don’t Want to Know About Every Little Thing in your Life!

I rarely unfollow someone I actually know, but I had to do that last month after a friend just would NOT shut up about everything going on in her life. It was fucking excruciating. I mean, minute-to-minute updates that weren’t funny, interesting or relevant in any imaginable fashion. I would’ve just pressed the “hide” button if it was Facebook,*** but unfortunately that’s not an option on Twitter. Be funny, clever, poignant or brutally honest. Or really anything other than the banal shit that forced me to unfollow that person.

***Which I did to her on Facebook about six weeks ago.

2. Don’t Overdue the Goddamn Hashtags

I’m not one to blindly follow rules or guidelines set up by The Man, but Twitter has a useful Help section, which happens to include a friendly guide to hashtag use. I’m not usually one to conform to rules, but please, everyone, take a look at this, especially if you’re one to tweet stuff like this (sorry, Brandon):

cool man you’re so original. How’s your NBA team looking? #OhWaitSTLDoesntHaveOne #YouSuckMoreThanMeloDoes #AndThatsALot #yup

That shit makes my eyes bleed.

3. Writing Like a Third-Grader

Not to sound like too much of a grammar snob, but when you’re allowed just 140 characters, make good use of them. Honestly, most users I follow are pretty good at this, including my friends. But when it comes to some athletes and entertainers (ahem, Kurt Warner, Chris Johnson, Snooki, Paris Hilton, etc.) MY GOD, I’d rather read shit smeared on the walls by monkeys.

4. People Who Use TMI

Anybody who uses this application sucks at life. If you’re going to ramble, use MySpace or Facebook.**** Or better yet, start a blog, although I hear only losers do that.

****Facebook allows users 420 characters, which is exactly thrice (yes, I said thrice) as many as Twitter’s 140. Either this is a ploy by Facebook to flex its muscles (we’re three times greater than you’ll ever be, stupid Twitter!) or just a clever joke inserted by some pothead programmer. I’m going with the latter.

5. Don’t Retweet Too Much Shit

Pretty self-explanatory. When I look at your timeline, it should be at least 80% of your original thoughts or at least an addendum to someone else’s tweet. But when you straight-up retweet someone all the time, it’s really fucking annoying — with the obvious exception of Humblebrag and other similar feeds — and shows a lack of originality. And for God’s sake, if you retweet someone, make sure that tweet doesn’t violate rule no. 1.

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