Tweet (verb): slang for posting on Twitter
Twit (noun): a silly, annoying or foolish person
Is Twitter just filled with tweeting twits or am I transgressing in this taunting tirade? (Try saying that fast three times.)
But seriously--what is it with Twitter?
Launched in 2006, Twitter, with 330 million users, has become the place to be heard: to opine, to click on news links, to follow the lives of the rich and famous and infamous, a setting to raise people up and to bring people down. Since our President tweets almost daily to express opinions, announce policy and vent against his latest adversary (every morning, 6:30 am or so) Twitter rules in 2018. Read a breaking story, watch a news report, hear a rumor and chances are very good that a tweet is the source.
For now I am still no tweeter, no Twitter user. At least not yet.
Not because I am a tech hating Luddite. I Facebook and blog, am as tech savvy, I suppose, as one can be at 57 years old. I'm not anti-Twitter even though it is filled with "trolls". Trolls are folks who love to trash, denigrate, attack and even threaten others. Trolls pick fights online just to get a rise out of folks. Nor am I against social media in general: at their best Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and other online gathering places are this generations' way of talking over the fence, connecting, communicating.
We had landline phones, newspapers and the water cooler. They have cyberspace.
The difference is the global reach of these platforms and the speed with which a message is shared. When a tweeter tweets, his or her thoughts are broadcast instantaneously. No one edits the tweets. Censorship is basically unheard of. If our hackles are up, if we are angry or overjoyed, and need to respond RIGHT NOW: Twitter is the place.
Tweeting is the First Amendment on steroids, a chance for almost anyone to say anything and to reach hundreds, thousands, even millions of folks. So you can start a revolution with a tweet or share a recipe. Harass a fellow user or lift up another with care. You can tweet and promote love and peace or tweet about white supremacy and hatred.
And all in just 280 characters.
The problem is not the tech. It's the users. Twitter et al are just tools that reflect human nature, both how we can soar to noble heights of decency and virtue, and descend into the gutter and the mud and reveal our worst and most cruel impulses. God and the devil, heaven and hell, sin and sincerity: it's all on display. And if you get bored, don't fret. Every second 6,000 new tweets are sent out. That's 200 billion tweets a year.
So I think I will hold back from entering the Twitter universe. Part of it is tech overload. I've already got way too much information flowing through my world. My bandwidth can only take so much. And I'm not much interested in following the most popular Tweeters, learning what they are "thinking". (I use that term cautiously.) So no thank you pop singers Katy Perry (109 million followers) and Justin Bieber (106 million), former President Barack Obama (102 million) and the present Commander in Chief (51 million), or TV icon Ellen (77 million) or Ariana Grande (56 million). I have no idea who she is and that's okay.
And now that it's May, I can experience tweets in the backyard. Real tweets from the winged creatures who hover around the bird feeder and entertain me with their songs. They start at 6:30 am too. I'll stick with them.