by Heather Bussing
I posted my 5000th tweet this week. If you had told me a couple years ago that I’d spend that much time on twitter, I would have laughed, rolled my eyes, and silently declared you a complete wingnut.
I hated twitter.
It’s too fast. The search function sucks. Older tweets are not “temporarily unavailable.” You have to use google to find them.
Conversations are disjointed and difficult to follow. Chats are visual cacophony and often idiotic.
Twitter is mostly just digital flashing: an endless stream of “Hey, look at me!”
Yet, in spite of all the noise and nonsense, the immediacy of twitter is mesmerizing.
Watching something happen on twitter is being there.
I’m not particularly sporty. But I love watching games on twitter. I see the enthusiasm, frustration, and excitement. Sometimes it’s barely coherent. But it is heartfelt, real, and now.
Twitter takes me there.
And there’s the added bonus of not actually having to watch the game itself.
I’ve also been following the googacle trial on twitter. Oracle sued google for trademark and patent infringements over google’s use of java in the android. When the jury had a verdict in the trademark phase, I switched to the profile page of the reporter covering the case on twitter.
She described what was happening. But she also wrote what it was like– how the lawyers seemed, the expression on the judge’s face, the tension in the courtroom. The butterflies flitted in my stomach. I held my breath. I was in every trial I’d ever had at the moment the jury files in with their verdict. And I was suddenly in that San Jose courtroom.
Twitter is unlike any other media.
Other types of reporting focus on the facts of what happened, not the sense of what’s happening. Even live TV is not the same. Something about the picture makes it clear that I am not there; I’m just an observer.
The only other things that come close are poetry and music.
I still think most of what happens on twitter is just self promotion at best, and stupid at worst. Still, I have developed professional relationships there with some great employment lawyers and HR professionals. I also get access to information and interesting content I wouldn’t read otherwise.
But I’m really looking to mainline the emotion and find myself in another place.