To Tweet or not to Tweet?

If we’re friend’s on Facebook—and if we’re not, we should be!—you probably have been following the saga of my walking pneumonia.  Long story short, I started feeling crummy about a week ago, but as is my way, I figured I could power through it, working a regular day, burning the candle at both ends, and just generally ignoring it.  My doctor confirmed what my mother (not a doctor, by the way) had diagnosed:  I had walking pneumonia.  She (the doctor, not my mother) was seeing lots of cases of it in her practice and it was basically characterized by a persistent, non-productive cough, fatigue, chills, and congestion.  Check, check, check, and double check.

Upon getting the diagnosis, I collapsed into bed like a house of cards, where I have been ever since.  I can’t remember the last time I stayed in my pajamas for days on end; even when I was undergoing treatment for cancer, I got up every day, got dressed, and combed what little hair I had.  With this illness, though, I figured my body was telling me something and it wasn’t good. I needed to take it easy.

Fortunately, I just bought myself a MacBook and the Barbieris, for the first time in the new millennium, are wireless, so I could keep up with the goings on in the world through my trusty computer.  On a lark, I started following Twitter more closely, if only to see what all the rage was.  I even tweeted a few times myself, things along the lines of “I don’t feel good” and “someone bring me pretzels” but I only have a few followers and no one really seemed to care as evidenced by the fact that nobody brought me pretzels.  But after following a bunch of people for several days, I discovered that tweeters fall into a few different categories, some of which I will describe for you here.

1.   The oversharer:  This is the person who shares intimate details about their life on Twitter.  I find these people oddly fascinating.  I know that social media has wrought an entire generation of oversharers, but it is still like rubbernecking to me to learn what person x said to their child about their homework, or how their husband pleases them like no other.  Keep it in the bedroom, people! 
2.   The crankypants:  This is the person who has an opinion on everything and it is generally contrary to popular opinion.  This is also the person who tweets about what he or she thinks other people should or should not be tweeting about, e.g. promotion of their books.  I follow “Very Famous Author (heretofore known as VFA)” and she does a lot of this.  As one of my kids would say, “I’m sorry, but I think this is still a free country.”  VFA rails against other people’s tweets and again, while I find this oddly fascinating, I wonder if there is a better use of VFA’s time than telling people what they should and should not tweet about, bedroom behavior notwithstanding.
3.   The feuder:  This is the person who takes to a social media platform to pick a fight with someone with whom they have a disagreement.  While again, fascinating (sorry, it’s the antibiotics; I’ve run out of adjectives), I wonder what the purpose of this is.  I have strong feelings on a variety of topics, but no one that I follow on Twitter could make me so angry that I would take an opposing stance on something and take the argument public.  Is this a function of our new, completely transparent world or just an indictment of one’s own level of personal aggression?  I’m not sure, but I do know that taking someone to task for an opinion expressed on Twitter seems cheap.  Call them up.  Have a discussion.  Express yourself in more than 140 characters to get your alternating point across.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  And then, call it a day.
What about you, Stiletto friends?  Any serious tweeters out there?  Who do you like to follow and why?  And what Twitter behavior makes you want to rip your hair out?
Maggie Barbieri
5 replies
  1. Maria Geraci
    Maria Geraci says:

    he he… Maggie, I have to admit I'm a twitter idiot. I twitter some, but I mostly view twitter as another way to find out what's going on in the publishing industry. Every once in a while, though, I find a little gem. Like when I found out about the BBC production of Downton Abbey by all the twittering:)

    Hope you feel better soon!

  2. Dru
    Dru says:

    I tweet very sporadically. My goodreads and reading blog automatically tweet for me. I don't know how people keep up with the hundreds of tweets that'll pass their eyes.

  3. Vicky Polito
    Vicky Polito says:

    No tweeting, no facebooking from me. Don't know how people find time for such wastes of time–on either the throw or the catch side of it all.

    Really don't like people who sell out or over-expose people adjacent to them via these media. Outing your kids on something or your friends and spouse, etc., just seems really scummy. You want to babble about yourself, go ahead and be silly that way. But, others who are pretty much innocent by-standers? Not right or fair.

    Oh, and sock-puppeting, where-by people assume anonymous or fake identities to be trolls on-line is also pitiful.

    Feel better. I am choosing to think "Maggie's got the ROCKIN' pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie flu!" Sing it out loud.

  4. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    I am steadfastly refusing to join the flock and Tweet. Facebook is enough for me (and I do enjoy it). But I wonder how I'd ever get anything else done if I joined Twitter, too, and worried about composing 140 character sound bites that elicited some kind of reaction. It terrifies me to imagine throwing any more of myself out into the world than is already out there. But it is fascinating (sorry, Maggie!) to hear when Twitter wars erupt and make the news or a celeb says something stupid and gets fired (I'm thinking of Gilbert Gotfried getting canned as the Aflac duck voice because of a Tweet). Anyway, I'll keep my opinions to myself…um, and Facebook. 😉

  5. Laura Spinella
    Laura Spinella says:

    LOL, Maggie!! Great post! Being a VFA would go a long way to not having that MFA. Then I'd have plenty of time for Tweeting and FB sharing of uber important topics! As it currently stands, my Twitter is on, but there's nobody home.

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