My Teenage Twitter Phase

I’ve heard it said that Twitter is in its “adult phase” now. When I heard that, I paused, trying to process what exactly that meant. I can understand what they are saying. With all the users and all the data they’ve accumulated, they’ve gotten to a point where they know what they are doing. But it just seems stupid to compare the life cycle of an electronic tool to that of a human, and I think such a comparison highlights a few things that are post worthy.

I like Twitter because it is a form of communication whose potential has not been exhausted yet. Have the boundaries of Twitter been pushed for the last time? Have we seen Twitter become the greatest thing it can possibly become?  I really don’t think so. So what’s with all the rules? Any half-assed Google search for “twitter dos and donts” will turn up at least forty articles with numbered lists on how to use proper etiquette, avoid being offensive, get retweets, gain followers, etc.

There are too many such sites to be sure about what one should do.  I understand the purpose of these articles, but there should be ONE and it should be on the Twitter website. Such articles do have a place, and God knows I’ve gleaned a tip or two from some of them (gimme those RTs on a Wednesday, ya know?) What bothers me is the amount of said lists and the wide array of guidelines they provide.

There’s so many rules and do’s and don’t’s that I feel backed into a corner when I want to just fire off a tweet willy-nilly. Sure, we need to be responsible with our communication methods, but that responsibility can’t come from those who make those lists. It comes from within, my boy. And the beauty of Twitter is that if you do blast something that is really unacceptable in the eyes of society, you’re going to get slammed by others and lose followers anyway.

Now, my unwillingness to “fire off a tweet willy-nilly” is mostly due to paranoia and my need for acceptance. So while I might tweet something for comedy’s sake, it may get ignored for properness’s sake, and then I feel spurned. Like I said, I’ve seen the rules. I don’t want to follow them, but the fact is, Twitter has become this place that doesn’t embrace actions that are outside the rules it’s laid down. It’s like there’s a class system. But, I know, there’s a Rule Number Four out there or something that says “Know your followers” and apparently I don’t have the right following for my tweets for comedy’s sake.

If what they mean by “Adult Phase” is that Twitter is going to take itself more seriously and wallow in consternation all the time, then I’m content to go through my “teenage phase”, for the third time, and rebel until I get the attention I desire.

Twitter is sweet. Its implications, positive and negative, are still being revealed to us as we go, but we shouldn’t negate the possibility of a positive event by warning against behavior on Twitter when we can’t be 100% sure of its outcome. The good will overcome the bad on Twitter because of sheer volume and its lack of borders. Twitter can truly be a democracy.

I’m electing to forego the use of all these guidelines that don’t make sense to me, in the hopes that my Twitter history is a more rich telling of my character. I am in no way condoning unsavory conduct on Twitter. Rather, I’m saying that Twitter can regulate itself, and we should be careful not to box ourselves into a time when all tweets look exactly the same. What’s the point then?  I say Tweet what you will, and let your followers decide.


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