Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twitter: the new way to people watch

The Internet has always had a strong social component, but the world has never felt more connected than it does now. For me, it all began with myspace (yes I am aware that social networking existed before then...I have used many of them.) I joined to find out what this "myspace thing" was that my friends kept raving about. I quickly discovered that not only could I keep in touch with friends, I could also find bands that I had never heard of to listen to. It was exciting. Sure, I couldn't load most of the myspace pages without waiting f.o.r.e.v.e.r, but when they finally loaded, it was game on.

After awhile I started to find more main stream bands on the site, and that was cool too. I could keep up on tours, listen to new tracks, and otherwise keep updated on band info. Comedians too. I knew when myspace had become uncool - it was after I had gone to a GNR concert and added Sebastian Bach as a friend. Shortly thereafter, a friend sent me a message that it was so cool that I'm friends with Sebastian Bach. It was in that moment that I knew myspace had gone too far.

Although I still have my myspace account, I rarely log into anymore. I moved on to Facebook. I liked Facebook so much more because it was more personal. You didn't have all these different people adding you as a friend so they could whore themselves to you. I got back in touch with a lot of old friends and schoolmates. It was great. But it was limited.

I had known about Twitter for awhile, but hadn't really paid much attention to it. That all changed when Facebook was blocked at work and I could no longer keep up with my friends updates, which had been the most addictive part of Facebook for me. What was I to do? Answer: use Twitter to update my Facebook status. This soon led to my friends joining Twitter too, and once again, it was game on.

I soon discovered that Twitter is a lot more than meets the eye. People don't just answer the "what are you doing now?" question that is posed; they share. They share information, news, and glimpses into the their psyche. And Twitter isn't just for the average joe...there are a lot of famous people who use Twitter. The first famous person I followed is Wil Wheaton. I wasn't really sure what to expect (until now I was not aware of his blog; I'm now an avid reader) but as I liked his work I decided to see what would transpire.

Now, I'm not the type that reads trash magazines, or finds it necessary to know every little thing about celebrities. If I like their work, I follow it (i.e. watch the movies/tv shows, whatever.) The idea of being able to read a celebrity's personal thoughts online seemed almost like reading one of those trash magazines. It took all of 5 mins of reading through tweets to cure me of that line of thinking! It struck me that although these people are celebrities, and to whom I would make an absolute ass of myself if I ever met, they're people too. (Yeah, that seems a bit obvious I know.) They, despite the fame, are just like the rest of us. That of course does not mean that they should be expected to respond to every tweet as if you're their best friend. But I digress...

I've built up a nice little group to follow, and am greatly enjoying it. As I read through the tweets today I came to realize why I am enjoying it so much: it's people watching. And I love people watching. You can be yourself, you can lie, you can promote, you can help... you can do whatever you want on Twitter. No matter what you do though, it reveals little things about you. And the way other people react to you reveals little things about them. It's completely fascinating.

And completely addictive.

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