People have asked me why I’m not on Twitter. Well, the most obvious reason is that I typically post in 140 pages, not 140 characters. I’m sort of like a rambling version of the Dos Equis Man. I don’t speak all the time, but when I do I’m long winded as hell. Brevity isn’t my thing. I can say nothing and I can say a lot of things but I struggle to hit anywhere in the middle of those two extremes.
My other reason has less to do with me being a ranting maniac and more to do with a general principle. Although we don’t all need to be verbose windbags I do think we, as a society, need to learn how to think and communicate in full and complete sentences. We need to work on forming thoughts. We need to use the internet to communicate actual ideas rather than communicating irrelevant and incoherent nothingness. Basically, I’d rather we be people with bad ideas than no ideas. Our vocabulary is shrinking by the minute. Twitter just aids and abets that process. If social media sites were really interested in contributing to society they would establish character MINIMUMS instead of maximums. If you don’t have more than 12 words to say on a subject, go and think for a bit and come back when you’ve got a completely formed thought. Some people — very, very few people — are really good at being meaningful in short bursts. These are typically the guys who make a living telling one liners or writing Haikus (if only I had a dime for every professional Haikuist I’ve encountered). Most of us aren’t in that category.
Also, if I ran Facebook or Twitter I’d set it up so that your account will be immediately deactivated and your computer will blow up if you ever abbreviate three letter words like “you” and “see”.
Sometimes I wonder what prompts people to actually sit down at their computer and type things like: “Today’s Wednesday… only two more days til Friday lol!” Yes. And? You have accurately observed the succession of days on the calender, now tell me something about it. Maybe tell me about how Wednesday got its name. Tell me about how, in the middle of the week, some ancient Germanic tribes would sacrifice a local virgin to Nessiezak (or “Nes”), their god of lust. The bloody ceremony was considered a “marriage”, hence “Wed Nes day”. Tell me about how East African pirates in the 12th century believed it was unlucky to sail on Wednesday, so anyone who tried to dock on this day would be chained to their own ship and set on fire to cleanse the town of the curse. Everything I’m saying right now is completely made up but, if you want to post about what day it is, you could do the research and give us some actual facts. Or I could keep inventing historical information. You might say you don’t have time to conduct that kind of investigation. Well, I could post a video of my cat and it would have 60 million views by tomorrow. We’ve all got plenty of time. Too much time, apparently.
I’m also not crazy about our supposed “statesmen” having Twitter accounts. Just look at the eloquent way in which politicians used to speak. Read anything they wrote on any subject at all. Pull a random sentence and it’s guaranteed to be more insightful and profound than anything our current crop has ever said. James Madison circa 1810: “There is no maxim, in my opinion, which is more liable to be misapplied, and which, therefore, more needs elucidation, than the current one, that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong. ” Any modern day politician on Twitter circa right now: “Going 2 congress 2day 2 c if that bill can b passed!”
To make matters worse I read this morning that the Twitter accounts of Burger King and Jeep were hacked. The article contained this phrase: “…their thousands of followers were confused by the Tweets”. Uh. What? Burger King has “followers”? Who the hell makes the deliberate decision to “follow” a fast food company? You’re not being advertised to enough? You need to have a constant barrage of Burger King or Jeep related information sent directly to your phone? It was bad enough when Burger King simply had customers, now it has disciples. I wonder, if Socrates was alive today and he had a Twitter account, would he be able to acquire more followers than Arby’s? I doubt it.
Besides, you need to make sure you get those daily roast beef updates.
I mean, u need 2 kno bout da roast beef!