Too Legit to Twit

by May 4, 2009Tech3 comments

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.

Persuade me!

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  1. Brian

    Hey, here’s a use for Twitter:

    TweetMyPC uses the Twitter network instead of the SMS network to relay command messages to your PC. You install the tiny application, give it the credentials of a Twitter account you’ve set up for the purpose, and from there it checks the feed of the control account every minute. Anytime the feed account Twitters the following commands: Shutdown, Restart, or Logoff, then TweetMyPC performs the following command on your computer. TweetMyPC is freeware, Windows only and requires .NET 3.5 or higher.


  2. Duncan

    I think Twitter’s greatest value is for rapidly updated reporting of stuff that does matter (like news “from the trenches” so to speak), or for an ad-hoc chat network.

    Here’s an example of the first use:

    I don’t have concrete examples of its chat value handy, but I’ve seen it done, especially when people are working on a project with other people who are scattered around the globe.

  3. Scott

    I don’t think you are missing too much by being too old for Twitter. It has some value, but so far I haven’t seen anything come out of it that has made me want to use it. It seems like the time wasted on it can outweigh the value which could come from it.
    Of course, I too might not be cool enough for Twitter.