It's taken a while. More than three years, in fact.
Concerned that this might be pointlessly addictive. posted by diamondgeezer [10:15 AM Dec 10th, 2006]
But I've finally got round to writing my 1000th tweet. I'm so terribly behind schedule.
Having a nice cup of tea posted by diamondgeezer [09:00 PM Feb 17th, 2010]
Most Twitterers tweet more often. I know this because I've counted. I've been back to check up on the first 20 people I followed on Twitter (or, at least, those who are still going, which makes this a slightly self-selecting sample). Of those 20 people, 90% have already posted more than 1000 tweets. 85% are over 2000, half are over 5000 and two are into five figures. I'm not really trying, am I?
I've averaged one tweet every 28 hours between 2006 and now, which sounds like it ought to add up to quite a lot. But when there are people out there dribbling forth their every waking thought in 140 characters or less, my occasional outbursts rank as mere amateurishness. I try to tweet quality, rather than quantity, and I think that puts me in the minority.
When I started out on Twitter (user number 54943, don't you know), it wasn't immediately obvious what possible use the service might have. Micro-blogging, perhaps, or the opportunity to reveal to the world what you were eating for breakfast. But, since the site truly took off early last year, I think Twitter's made its mark in three very particular ways. As follows.
It seemed ridiculous that an online miniature messaging service could help to bring people closer together. But Twitter has been a revelation. I know far more about certain internet users from their tweets than I ever learned about them from their blogs. Ten words of exasperation posted in the heat of the moment reveal more about someone's character than a thousand carefully chosen words arguing some esoteric point or listing everything they did on holiday. Twitter means I'm there with you on your evening commute, I share your misery when the baby's sick and I cheer with you when that goal hits the back of the net. We even all watch TV together, wherever we might be, and revel in sharing points of order and hilarity. It's the minutiae of life that make us all rounded individuals, and Twitter helps to share these with people we'd not otherwise tell.
And then there's the downside. Millions of people are only on Twitter to get noticed, so their contribution is an endless succession of "look at me" flag-waving. I just posted something on my blog, come see. This brand/restaurant/website is phenomenal, do share. Hello celebrity, I'm talking to you. And (my personal least-favourite, this) I just noticed this story in the media, you should read it. Thankfully it's possible to ignore most of these people simply by not following them, although their tedious "social media" influence permeates the entire site. They offer nothing of themselves, they're only out for themselves, and they add nothing that interests me.
But what Twitter's really helped to bring about is the exposure of what was once private into the public domain. It allows conversations to take place in real time, in the real world, with everybody else watching. Previously two mates from opposite ends of the country might have communicated via MSN, now they banter by tweet and allow me to watch. Previously an invite to the pub might have arrived via SMS, now it arrives online and if you're in the area you can gatecrash. Previously you might have tried to get my attention via email, now you shout my name on Twitter and hope that I notice. It's a pitch-perfect opportunity for stalkers to get to know you too well, or for advertisers to precisely target your interests, or for the whole world to discover when you're suffering from PMT. Some people tweet too much.
And that's why I don't tweet very often. a) Blogging's community enough for me b) I'm not out to promote myself or others c) I still prefer one-to-one communication to be in private
But I will happily tell you when I'm having a nice cup of tea.