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Day of the Twit, The Aftermath

December 22nd, 2008 by Sam

Creative Commons License photo credit: Missty

Day of the Twit has come and gone, as have 6 other non-twitteriffic days, and some folks have been asking me if I’ve learned anything from the experience. In the spirit of lazy writing that inspired this whole thing in the first place, I figured the best way to detail the lessons of DOTT would be through a bullet list:

  • When all was said and done, Day of the Twit was comprised of about 350+ tweets (judging from a Twitter search of tweets tagged with #twit)
  • While the bulk of the scheduled buffoonery was administered by the AV Club crew, special thanks go out to @Kitchen, @JenniPowell, @nathantamayo and a few other, less prolific folk, for keeping the magic alive.
  • Some props should probably be thrown @lizlet’s way for inadvertently inspiring Andy and I to make this crazy thing happen, though I won’t go into detail on that one.
  • Strangely enough, tweeting like an idiot gained me 5 followers, while losing me 1 follower (@boogah), for a net gain of 4. @Boogah came back the next day.
  • About halfway through the day, I realized that the hashtag #twit was already taken by “This Week in Tech”. Hopefully that day wasn’t too confusing for those folks (egad that was embarrassing).
  • While we tried to duplicate every manner of depraved abuse twitter usually goes through (including frivolous tweeting, unnecessarily public conversations via @replies and RT recursion), I think we missed out on one of my main pet peeves: using 10 or more tweets to write something that should really be in a blog post. So it goes.
  • Contrary to expectations, nobody tweeted about using the bathroom. Whether or not anyone actually tweeted from the toilet remains a mystery.
  • Ok, I tweeted a few times from the bathroom that day. The day warranted it, damnit. Don’t you judge me.
  • It’s much easier and fun to make 100 tweets a day than to write a blog post about it.

All things considered, my one night stand with irresponsible and inane tweeting was very much like all one night stands: It was fun, irresponsible, I felt really bad about it the morning after, and while I say now that I’ll never do it again, I may feel bored and starved enough for attention to do it again at some point in the future. Let’s hope it never comes to that.

More than anything else, this whole endeavor stemmed from the AV Club Blogfolk’s continuing love/hate relationship with Twitter, so I should probably at least defend twitter and social networking after dragging them through 140×100 characters worth of mud.

Andy’s 2 main beefs about twitter seems to be that it depersonalizes our relationships, and that it carries an absurd signal to noise ratio. My counterpoint to that is that a lot of our offline relationships carry an equally absurd signal to noise ratio, and could do with some filtering. Case in point: my godson.

About 6 weeks ago, my cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, and I had the honor of being named his godfather. Now, since this is my cousin’s first child, she is now in a state that is best described as “Baby-Stupid”. This is perfectly normal, mind you, and I’d be worried if she wasn’t. I’d go as far as saying that if you’re not mind bogglingly baby-stupid for the first few months of your first child’s life, you’re not doing your job as a parent. This doesn’t change the fact that this state is horribly annoying to nearly everyone who’s not a parent.

Now, if this was 10 years ago, I could probably expect daily calls from my cousin, ZOMGing constantly about how amazingly amazing the baby is. Instead, she now has a dedicated baby blog, and she makes constant updates to Facebook. The awesome thing about this is that I get to see how my absolutely cute godson is doing whenever I’m curious, but I can also ignore the mayhem completely whenever I’m not. It’s that level of control over what I get to read or ignore that makes me a fan of the technology.

Is this form of communication less personal than phone or email? Yeah, probably. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, all things considered. It also doesn’t replace more personal forms of communication, just like email didn’t replace the phone, and just like the telephone didn’t replace face-to-face meetings.

The one thing I learned from DOTT was that a whole lot of people are just bored enough to genuinely want to read every bit of inane minutiae from other peoples’ day, and the ones that don’t can usually find the “off” switch easily enough. If that “off” switch didn’t exist I’d be right there with Andy, waving a cane at the damn script kiddies loitering on our digital lawn. Right now, though, it’s late December, LA is a ghost town, I’ve exhausted my RSS feeds, emails and Forum threads, and I’m terminally freakin’ bored.

So, what are you doing right now?


6 Responses to “Day of the Twit, The Aftermath”

  1. Jay B.

    The thing about signal-to-noise ratios is that sometimes what appears in the moment to be the noise really turns out to be the signal. And vice-versa.

  2. Chris

    Nice post Sam… though it is a bit long for 1 sitting. Could you possibly break it down into 33.757 twitter posts for me? (yes, I did the math)

    Wonder if the hash #DOTT is taken…

  3. Sam

    Looks like #DOTT is, in fact, taken. And considering how violent @JerikoOne seems to be towards Bernard, I’d rather not mess with him.

  4. Jenni Powell

    What I want to know is, what would Tom Hanks think of all this? Considering how much his name keep coming up during the day.

    It was a fun experiment, one I enjoyed being a part of.

  5. Farhan Rehman

    Sounds like you had some fun… try it for a week, ten minutes a day, and then tell me it aint fun and addictive :)

  6. Andy

    I did not learn much from DOTT, although I was amazed to gain followers during and as a result of it. I did not get to tweet as much as I wanted to either (work = teh suck right now), so I felt like I under-represented for the day. I still stand by my general feelings about twitter, but I do have a few thoughts on it:

    1) it is so, so good at forwarding relevant, interesting, almost personalized links from your friends and like-minded “friends”. It is the best RSS feed I subscribe to.

    2) If it were not for the iPhone, twitter and I would not even be acquaintances. It is very good at filling the 5minutes of boredom that exist peppered throughout the day, and I’ve liked it for this, but not so much that I suddenly think everything I’ve said about it was wrong.

    3) TWITTER NEEDS CATEGORIES. I do not need to hear about Sam’s dinner. But I would like to read any links he deems good enough to share with the group. I would therefore like to filter all updates and ignore all the #personal ones to try to filter the noise down a little.

    4) Seriously, why is it so hard to find your friends on Twitter? Alphamonkey just joined the revolution today and he and I had way more trouble connecting than we should have had (it basically took under a minute, but it should have taken less than it did).