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The Twouble With “Twouble With Twitters”: A Twebuttal

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When it comes to Twitter, people can be all about it, or look at it much the way Zoolander and Hansel stare at a computer. This was the case for the Internet early on; a brilliant yet desperately undersexed faction of computer geeks were blown away by services like Telnet and listservs, whereas the rest of the world could not see a practical use for it. Hence the early slogan among early-1990s surface-dwellers: "E-mail: For People Who Have Never Seen Vaginas!"

These days at work, absolutely nobody can understand why I'm on Twitter, and I've persuaded exactly zero co-workers to get an account. Yet I can convince two people to switch to diet pop.

Hey, It's not for everyone. That's fine. It's definitely not for the makers of SuperNews, whose online short "Twouble With Twitters" portrays a hip young protagonist named Derek enduring his annoying cubicle neighbor Craig loudly narrating everything he writes on Twitter. Derek's never heard of Twitter, and Craig, taken aback with horror, tries to explain it, failing miserably. ("T-T-T-The latest social-networking micro … bloggy thingy!") After Derek's interest quickly wanes, Craig magically whisks him away "into the Twittersphere," where they're greeted by the site's logo, some kind of bird, who daintily explains "you can tell everyone what you're doing or thinking at all times, no matter how trivial, mundane or embarrassing."

What happens next is where the video gets it so fucking wrong.

Craig explains his love for Twitter by saying, "It's like I'm hanging out with my friends all the time." Derek rains on his parade (literally — with lightning!) by saying they aren't his friends, and as the clouds gather, Derek shouts, "NONE OF YOU HAVE ANY FRIENDS!"

(In all fairness, the ensuing whale riot was pretty damn funny.)

But the thesis of this video is perfectly aligned with America's favorite Facebook hater, Time's Claire Suddath, who said, "most people aren't funny, they aren't insightful, and they share way too much." Ergo, there's a motorboatload of boring, mindless, and uninteresting Twitter users out there, therefore the entire experience is a waste of time and ruining society.

Are these guys serious?

As Technorati mentioned a few months ago, there are about 188.9 million blogs, Facebook accounts, and MySpace pages out there. Virtually all of them are a complete waste of time to any given soul. Nobody in their right mind would take those stats and deduce, "well, fuck the Internet, it's not for me." Because they use these quirky, novel innovations such as "bookmarks" and "RSS feeds."

Facebook's the same way. Twitter's the same way. And I'm inclined to believe MySpace and just about every other social networking site's the same way. If someone's boring, you ignore them. If you've found someone who's interesting, or insightful, or hilarious, you do the opposite. (Read: You stalk them in their home.)

I did enjoy the line in "Twouble" where Craig couldn't explain what Twitter was. But then again, if you were Bill or Ted and had to explain the Internet to Socrates in less than one sentence, could you? ("It's like this place, well it's not really a place, and you go to these pages, well, they're not really pages, we just call them pages …")

This might be why my co-workers think I'm freaking crazy. (Among other signs.) I haven't adequately explained what Twitter is and how I use it. I just know it works for my personal situation. This is the case for everyone else tweeting away. And twatting and twoting. Okay, maybe the site's phraseology is turning people off.

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  • Aaron McMullan

    wonderful, Mr Sussman – I must say i’m intrigued by Twitter, but have avoided it for reasons of not wanting to be slapped up the teeth once every forty-five seconds with that Great & Terrible Truth – that all my friends are infinitely wittier and funnier and sharper than me. No man nor woman needs to be confronted with that.

  • kelly

    I use Twitter too! It’s funny how quotes like LOOK AT XXXX in white bikini can get so many RTs on twitter (and elsewhere).

  • Susan Keeping

    I guess I chose wisely, most of the people I follow on Twitter don’t twit about their mundane existences. And if they do it’s usually entertaining. I didn’t go crazy and follow everyone under the sun…maybe that is the key.

    I don’t twit everything I do in my day, just like I don’t change my Facebook status hourly. I mainly twit articles I have read or written and sites I think people should visit. And hey, following those legitimate celebrity twitters is fun…