A few weeks ago, I attended a dinner party at the home of my husband’s boss and his wife. It was an intimate gathering—four couples. It’s a relatively new company, and the hosts thought it would be a good way for everyone (the wives especially) to put faces to names.
As often is the case in such gatherings, there was much small talk. A conversation which began as the merits of Mac versus PC (or vice versa depending on whether you’ve partaken in the Apple Kool-aid) soon turned to Facebook. Our host asked everyone at the table, “Who of you here has a Facebook account?” My husband was the only one who did not answer in the affirmative. Everyone had an opinion:
“There are people I don’t want to find me”
“I found my best friend from elementary school.”
It’s a great way to keep up with family and friends and see the latest pictures of the grand kids.”
“Facebook is your life, only edited.”
To the last comment I responded, “Facebook status updates are like a never-ending Christmas letter. I have a Facebook account (two actually), but I prefer Twitter.”
Guess who was the only person at the table with a twitter account.
“I tried twitter…I don’t get it.”
“What’s the point of Twitter anyway?”
This left me momentarily speechless—a fairly rare occurrence. Because how does one answer that question?
What is the point of Twitter?
My response was, “What do you want the point of Twitter to be? It can be different things to different people.”
So I posed this question on Twitter and got some interesting responses:
@CandySteele said: I love being able to connect with people and not worry about the spinach in my teeth.
@sarahmsalter said: For the first couple of months I was on Twitter I felt the same way. Then, I “met” you. And @weightwhat. And @Helenatrandom. Et al.
@Helenatrandom said: Socializing. Here is where I group together with my cyber friends, much the same way I used to gather on the great big cubes in Alumni Hall with my friends in college. It is a cyber gathering space. Why not use a chat room? Because that isn’t where my friends are gathering. Does that make me a “follower”. Perhaps. So what?
@marni71 said: Interaction with other snarks. I’m not being snarky in saying that though. And I find I’m challenged (in a good way) by differing opinions and beliefs of others I meet on here. But mostly…snark.
@kellyatlovewell said: I tell people Twitter (for me) is like a huge chat room with some of my favorite online people in it. It’s a lifeline for SAHMs.
@IanAClifford said: Twitter has put me in touch with people I wouldn’t normally be in touch with and sending short messages is normally all I have time for.
@duane_scott said: The point of twitter is connecting with readers and interesting people. A major time killer.
@Davidmota said: Twitter is the place where I get encouraged by other Believers across the world.
@Pauharri said: I feel twitter is so honest and open to anyone I mean you can twitter someone famous,or twitter your neighbour anyone.
@forthegirls said:To expand beyond school, community and family (bc that’s what FB has for me) twitter offers new perspectives!
@NEgraceful said: It’s an easy way to click over to posts quickly. Also, gives me a high ’cause I get followers faster than on blog!
@ Brian_Russell said: Twitter is my place for the comments my mom always told me to keep to myself.
@MarilynYocum said: Twitter: Having a sense of what others are doing/thinking/reading. Trusting them to point out good things, but not overwhelm me.
@BretMcCormick said: Great question….blogging 140 characters at a time is all my ADHD can withstand.
@KathleenOverby said:Twitter is fine tuned. Succinct. Instant conversation. Facebook makes me feel sooooooo lonely. A facade somehow? 1000 Friends.??
@mxings said: (in response to Kathleen) FB does not make me feel lonely, but it makes me feel like I am neglecting people, a status does not seem 2B enough.
@jeremypeterson said:Quick thoughts and replies w/o having to deal with dumb things like farmville or mafia
@togetherforgood said: I’m a fan of facebook. Because none of my “real life” friends are on twitter. I don’t really “get” social media, I think.
@mxings said: I would agree. Twitter can be whatever you want it to be — I prefer it because I feel I have more choice in following/friending There are 2 at work who always say, “Why would I want to tell everyone every time I take a piss?” & the look ‘end of discussion’.
@NovelHelp said: Connecting with people who have similar interests and to learn from their experience and/or help with mine.
@mmerubies said: Twitter is for conversation that completely broadens my horizons.
@jpwire said: Twitter makes me less lonely. other really whacked out people to connect with. LOL.
@SBeeCreations said: Started as a marketing tool &is now an extended network of caring, compassionate, funny friends I don’t know how I survived without.
@UntanglingTales said: I twitter b/c it’s idea-connect w/ greater efficiency than blogging– w/ (frequently) the convenient connection to the actual blog.
@okiewife said: I love twitter for the connections with ordinary but witty folks, uplifting blogs, and all the patriotic love of America comments.
@WriteOnRideOn said: Global communication. Worldwide interaction with people I may never have met otherwise. Mutual support+encouragement. Fun. Writing. Plus, I’m with ya on the FB deal. I don’t do FB. I don’t want to dredge up the past or interact only w/people I already know. Plus, I love the potential and unexpected surprises on Twitter. Love sending out a tweet and meeting new people out of the blue.:) ..without FB “will you be my friend” stuff. I’d rather have public Twitter timeline w/news, friends, writing, shared interests.AND sometimes I actually manage to say what I need to say in 140char or less. I know. Hard to believe right now. LOL )
I also received a couple of heartfelt direct messages:
Re: Twitter. Sometimes, I just don’t know. Sometimes I feel it’s just another way to feel lonely as I probably don’t have the outgoing personality to make friends as I see others do. I find it disheartening at times. But when I’m away, I miss it. Go figure.
(a mutual friend) said that I add sunshine to everyone’s day on Twitter. And that surprised me, because in real life, people are always telling me that I’m too much. Too loud. Too fast. Too much. I’m rarely myself because being myself is too much. Too annoying. And I often fear that I’m too much on Twitter, too. Too talkative. Too chatty. Too open. Too “myself.” But she said that the miracle of the Internet is that it allows weirdos like us to discover that we’re not alone. And that’s what it’s done for me. I’ve found a group of people that don’t just TOLERATE me. They CELEBRATE me. (Does it make me pathetic that I’m actually crying while I type this?) I feel like I found a treasure when I found you guys. (Or did you find me?) I don’t care. I just thank God we found each other. I was afraid to laugh or to be silly. I had been led to believe that grown-ups don’t do that. Y’all taught me different.
So there you go. For those of you who are not on the twitter, those are several reasons people choose to connect there. And if you are on twitter, and missed sharing your thoughts on twitter, what’s the point for you?« « Previous Post: The People Next Door (by Billy Coffey) | Next Post: Building your Platform » »