I happened to catch a little bit of Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion last Saturday evening, and he had trained his satirical sights on Twitter. Dusty the Cowboy was tweeting every last detail of his life, to hilarious effect. Unfortunately, the sketch is not online yet, but I did find this message from the Ketchup Advisory Board. Middle-aged Barb is having a conversation with her middle-aged husband, Jim, who can’t seem to stop Tweeting during their talk:
Barb: I’m not sure you’re getting enough ketchup, Jim. Ketchup contains natural mellowing agents that help a person realize that we are living in an actual world filled with real people who are sitting four feet away.
Which brings me to this: I’m as techie as anyone within 50 yards at the moment, and yet I confess I don’t understand the Twitter phenomenon. I feel the same way I did in the summer of 2000 when, as a Wilds counselor, I looked out over the sea of kids in the Activity Center and saw hundreds of Hawaiian shirts. I thought distinctly, Those kids sure do look dumb—and what’s more, I remembered when Hawaiian shirts were popular back in the 1980s. It hit me: I am no longer cool.
But I’m trying to understand. I have an Adobe Air application running my Twitter feed as we speak. But with tweets like “Coming home soon” and “Brushing my teeth,” what am I supposed to conclude? Some of my tweeters are giving more substance than that, and I like their brevity, but that substance would work better as blog posts I think. I don’t want my schedule to be threatened by the immediacy of a pop-up on my screen. Blog posts I can check when I want.