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Celebs Give Twitter A Bad Name

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The sun rises in the East, and another person doesn't get Twitter. Such is life.

But actually, this one has a twist. A devious, lemony twist. Toledo Blade columnist Roberta de Boer says she does understand Twitter, as evidenced in today's puzzling missive to the world on why she will not use the micro-blogging service because, I guess, celebrities are using it.

"Before I go on," she penned, "let me make clear that: (1) I completely get the usefulness of Twitter, and; (2) I absolutely do not [sic?] myself to Twitter, nor do I 'follow' anyone's Tweets."

Well, that's cool. Again, it's probably not for everyone. But what de Boer seems to think is that Twitter is a sensation because people such as Ashton Kutcher and Martha Stewart use it for their own marketing purposes. I'll throw Shaquille O'Neal and a number of athletes into the mix, because, well, I like sports.

"I cannot typically remember why I stood up from the living room to walk into the kitchen," de Boer wrote. "Where am I supposed to get the additional attention span to hang onto the banality of a Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg, or even a Barack Obama Tweet?"

She really drives home the point that nobody should care about a non-famous person's day-to-day activities, and that the mainstream appeal of fans craving instant menial news about their favorite admirers is a little disgusting.

I am in agreement with her in all of this. But again, like the makers of "Twouble With Tweets" did, she is condemning the entire service based on a faction of people using it. In this case, it's celebrities.

(Interjection: I'm not sure why so many celebs caught onto Twitter. Then again, they all sort of behave like lemmings. One of them becomes environmentally active, or joins Scientology, or protests Proposition 8, and many others follow suit. In this case, Twitter is just what a famous person is supposed to do these days.)

If I heard that Twitter was a place where I can follow my favorite celebrities, I'd probably hate it too. That's why I don't have any of those celebrities on my "friends" list. I just don't care that much. The highest profile on my roll is probably author John Hodgman, and I'm contemplating an "unfollow," because he's starting to provide less witty one-liners and more plugs for his and his friends' gigs and products.

Twitter really is a fantastic breeding ground for free marketing and for directly connecting to fans (consumers). Likewise, the majority of e-mail is spam, tons of online ads are annoying (please stop it with the fucking acai berries diet already), and the vast majority of blogs are created for the purpose of advertising. These are not valid reasons to hate these technologies. These would be excuses for hating strange and new things.

Shaq can Tweet at halftime and Martha can rub elbows with her famous friends. That's fantastic for them, and it's even better for folks like me because I don't have to pay attention to them, unless The New York Times writes a story about it, inadvertently defining Twitter as a place to find your favorite celebrities and live in a fantasy world where they know who I am.

Let's just change the tagline right now. Twitter: You Probably Won't Understand This. That might solve so many headaches for everyone involved.

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  • http://nyc.locationscout.us R. Richard Hobbs

    What lots of people don’t seem to “get” is Twitter can be used as / with del.icio.us as a searchable bookmarking service – with personal commentary no less. I’m very selective who I follow – I would much rather read tweets w info about a subject we are both interested in than read what you (or Martha Stewart ;) had for breakfast

  • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Brad F.

    I agree that people should get a broader understanding of something before they malign it in front of a very large public audience.

    I personally have no desire to follow anyone’s Twitter to know what they had for lunch or bought at Prada just because they’re famous. I use Twitter to push my blog updates out to another social site, and, mostly, to get updates on programs or services I’m interesting in, like Digsby for example.

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com/ Joanne Huspek

    I just finally got it. It’s a rather time-sucking web site, which is why I don’t hang on it for long. I know my addictive personality better than that.

  • Cindy

    I just signed up yesterday for twitter. I found it to be an incredible way of following inside info on protests and associated breaking news.

    G20 summit protest groups as well as individual protesters and witnesses sent constant information right from the center of action in London–including links to videos, photos and articles.

    Twitter is remarkable find for me for this kind of event and probably would work for any big event that people are interested in.

  • http://twitter.com/calfit32 Christine Lakatos

    I do twitter but am still not quite clear on its use and the benefits! In fact, when I first starting using twitter my thought was “who cares what I am doing right now”! But as time past, it has become very useful for networking, marketing, and staying in touch with people and topics of interest–not for knowing what celebrities are up to (which I could care less about)–you can turn on the news for that!

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