What Are You Doing? | Ninja Poodles Local

Friday, March 28, 2008

What Are You Doing?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 1:59 AM

I have been completely in love with the unlikely internet juggernaut that is Twitter for almost a year now, and I am still nearly always unable to describe it accurately to people who do not use it. Yes, it's like instant messaging, kind of. And kind of like a chat-room. And sort of like blogging--instantaneous micro-blogging, anyway. It comes from a wholly simple and straightforward place, asking simply, "What are you doing?" and then providing you with 140 characters worth of blank space to answer that question, as frequently or infrequently as you choose.

When I first entered the Twitter playground last year, most people simply answered the question, using the automatic placement of their username as the beginning of a declarative statement. As in, "ninjapoodles is waiting for the dryer to finish, awestruck at the glamor that is her life." For most folks, Twitter was pretty personal, and we followed mostly people we already knew, either in "real life" or online, and read their updates and posted our own. Then, a few months ago, the Twitter timeline somehow became a conversation. A live, constant, global conversation. New connections were made. In response to the ways that its users were utilizing the service, Twitter made changes to the way the application works. More and more, people were responding to each other directly, by placing '@' in front of another's username. Most of us added more and more followers, as we saw our friends responding to people we hadn't known about, and clicked over to their profiles and found that we liked them, too, and wanted to follow them.

Now, Twitter has added a wonderful little swooshy arrow at the end of each update, so that you can simply click on it to reply to the poster, without even having to type in their username yourself. As of this writing, I have posted a total of 5,836 updates on Twitter, received several hundred "DMs" (direct messages), and I'm following what seems like an insane number of people--458--and adding more daily. I don't automatically follow everyone who follows me, but I do follow anyone who interacts with me directly. In the beginning, I tried to keep a lid on the number of people I'd follow, because I couldn't keep up with a cluttered "timeline," but with the '@' feature, I can easily click on the "replies" tab and see if anyone has addressed me directly, without scanning back through the timeline.

There's also a "favorites" feature, where you can click a star next to a post and mark it as a favorite, for Twitter to save. Tonight was the first time I opened my "favorites" file and looked back on all the posts I'd saved. Here is a samping of updates which I found, for whatever reason, worthy of saving over the last year or so.

This screen-grab is a perfect illustration of how the Twitter timeline can capture the mundane, the angsty, the humorous, and the profound at a glance:

Some of the "Tweets" I save are replies to something I've posted, that made me laugh or meant something to me so that I wanted to remember them. Some struck me as funny:

Others touched me (and probably now have meaning only to me):

And some I save when people speak to me in languages from other planets:

Some Tweets are two-parters (read from the bottom up):

Sometimes an exchange between others is so funny to me that I save the whole thing, like this one (yes, I am so good at screen captures that I left the cursor in the middle of the shot--that word is "idea"). Remember that the Twitter timeline posts the most recent updates at the top, so read exchanges from bottom to top:

But by far, the updates I "favorite" (one thing that really bugs me about the internet is the increasing creation of new verbs) most often are stand-alone posts, usually the ones that make me laugh. These, more than anything else, are probably what makes Twitter worth using for me. Forget "social media," networking, whatever...sometimes, I just want to see what other folks are doing, and hopefully have a chuckle.

So...What are you doing?

UPDATE: Edited to add a link to this video (thanks, Zach!), explaining the bare-bones basics of Twitter to the uninitiated.

Sign up for the Daily Update email


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Belinda

  • Trading Post

    Yeah, the economy sucks.  Money's tight.  You don't have to tell me twice, since I'm looking at overdue medical bills and have a mower being held hostage at the repair shop, and a destroyed stretch of fence that must be mended ASAP.  It stinks.  Before, I might've turned to Craigslist or Ebay in an attempt to sell outgrown kids' clothes, no-longer-used horse tack, Hubby's hunting gear (shhhh), or anything that isn't nailed down, for extra cash.  But what do you do when no one else has any money, either?  They can't buy your stuff if they don't have any more cash than you do.Well, as I am learning right now, one thing you can do is return to your historical roots, and try bartering.  It may sound archaic at first, but really, it's something that's intuitive and natural...so much so that you're almost certainly already doing it, to some extent, without even realizing it.  We all keep a mental "scorecard" of sorts (though we'd never be so crass as to call it, or even think of it, in those terms, probably) of favors we owe and kindnesses given us, and tend to repay them in kind.  When you pick up the check at lunch with a friend, you probably do so knowing that your buddy'll get it next time.  It's a kind of tacit give and take that we enjoy in a civilized society, and it's not much of a stretch to extrapolate that experience into something broader and more literal, with tangible rewards.This all came home to me recently thanks to an exchange that began, as so many these days do, on Craigslist.  (Let me just pause here a moment and say how grateful I am that Arkansans are finally coming around to realizing the enormous usefulness of Craigslist.  It's about time!)   I had placed an ad to sell a few of our surplus Narragansett turkeys, and while there I of course had to look around and see what was up for grabs near me.  It's easy to fall down the Craigslist rabbit-hole, even without visiting the fantastically entertaining "missed connections" listings.There was an ad for established strawberry plants, at a real honey of a price, and they could be picked up just a mile or so from my home!   I've wanted strawberries for the longest time, so I responded to that ad straightaway, and asked the very nice gentleman who'd placed the ad some basic questions about their care, and made arrangements to pick up my new plants.  When I went to meet the strawberry seller at a local gas-mart, I took along a dozen fresh eggs, which is something I tend to do when I'm feeling sociable--everyone likes fresh eggs, right?   At this point, because it is just about to become relevant, I should show you what a sampling of fresh eggs from our place looks like.
    • Mar 24, 2009
  • Hey, Arkansas--Long Time, No See!

    And I'm taking the fact that this blog still exists as an indication that I'm still allowed to post here.  Is that presumptuous?I'm sorry for the long, long absence, and I will try to make up for it in the months to come.  Things have been...well, harsh.  Difficult.  But that's neither here nor there, in the here and now.  I'm back, and I'll try to stay.
    • Feb 11, 2009
  • Awestruck!

    I'm only just now, as President-Elect Barack Obama prepares to make his victory speech, beginning to relax emotionally, and realizing how very beaten-down and pessimistic I have felt for the last eight years, particularly the last four.
    • Nov 4, 2008
  • More »

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation