This was the first among many burning questions buzzing about my head when I heard about Twitter in 2009. The exchange went something like this:
Anonymous: Wow, you’re hilarious.
Me: Uh huh.
You should totally get a Twitter.
Me: A what?
Anonymous: It’s like this website where you can post your thoughts in these really small status updates.
Me: So…it’s basically like status updates on Facebook?
Anonymous: Not totally. You can tag people so they can read all about what you’re thinking and doing. And you can “follow” people so you always know what they’re thinking about and doing.
Me: So it’s Facebook status updates with cyber stalking?
Anonymous: And you can only post 140 characters at a time.
Me: You’ve got to be shitting me. That will never catch on.
Three years and hundreds of millions of subscribers later, I was proven to be completely retarded. Twitter is now the 3rd largest website in the world, the only things bigger being Facebook and the music video for Somebody That I Used To Know. Celebrities use it, news networks use it, even Corey Fucking Feldman uses it. It’s everywhere.
My main problem with Twitter is that it enforces a belief that is becoming far too widespread in our culture. Specifically, that your life is interesting. When I came home for the summer, I discovered to my horror that my brother and my sister both own Twitters. As well as all of their friends, which if Facebook will be believed, is more than the population of Newfoundland. Neither of them have graduated high school yet. Yesterday, I heard them fighting about who had more followers. At that point, I seriously considered going to New Zealand for a few years until this whole thing blew over. Twitter has convinced us, the part-time-job-working-TV-watching-Snickers-eating population of America, that our exploits and thoughts are both original and worth other people’s time. Valuable cyberspace is wasted every day by Joe Blow from Nebraska who wants us all to know that his car needs a tire changed, or Jane Doe from Tennessee who is going to get her pap smear.
Celebrities used to be interesting before Twitter. There was always an air of mystery about celebrities in ye olde times. How did James Dean get his hair to do that flippy thing? What did Marlon Brando do in his spare time? What the hell happened to Gary Busey?
With Twitter, I can now find out almost anything that I want about any given celebrity. If you gave me enough time, I could probably tell you Scarlett Johansson’s favorite flavor of pie (Trick question: She doesn’t like pie). Celebrities now abuse Twitter even more than the unwashed masses. Because of Twitter, I now know that ‘Heart Shaped Box’ is about Courtney Love’s vagina.
Luckily, I can barely read most Twitters because the 140 character rule has turned most posts into something that makes our old AIM conversations look like Shakespearean verse.