In defense of #Twitter
I was wrong about Twitter. You probably were, too. Hell, there’s a good chance you’re still wrong about Twitter. That’s why I’m writing this. If you’re anything like me, and you probably are, you thought Twitter was for the birds (…see what I did there?) Why should I care that @justinbieber is tying his shoes or @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) just had a cheeseburger? Isn’t it just another place to post a status? Why do I need a @facebook without pictures? You probably thought #hashtags looked #stupid and 140-character limits served no purpose.
I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that you are or were wrong. I’ll pull a Civil Discourse and say you should’ve understood it before you judged it. Like I said before, I was wrong too, but I’ve changed, and that’s why I’m the one aboard the Twitterian high horse. To be sure, there are those who tweet about cheeseburgers and shoelaces. In reality, the most common culprits of these types of vapid tweets are your friends. They’ll probably spend a lot of time tweeting about how drunk they’re going to get this weekend or how drunk they got last weekend. Don’t follow them (it’s much less of a social faux pas then it would be to deny a Facebook friend request). Twitter is first and foremost an information-sharing platform, and there’s a whole world of fun to be had.
Even if you’re not ready or willing to produce content in the Twitterverse, never fear. It’s all about who you follow. Twitter’s best positive externality is the communities it creates – when everyone in your timeline (the equivalent of your news feed) is talking about the same thing, it gets pretty awesome. The community I find myself in is amongst the dedicated, stats-oriented baseball blogosphere that makes up my little corner of the Internet. If there’s some crazy trade, play or game, there’s an entertaining, enlightening, and often hilarious conversation about it, all amongst knowledgeable, real people.
During the absolutely nuts game six of the World Series, there was one point where I counted 18 straight tweets reacting to Cardinals’ third baseman David Freese’s heroics before I saw one that wasn’t in all-caps. And better yet, it isn’t just a one-sided conversation—if I want to know the correlation between Pitch F/X bias and park effects, for example, I’ll just send a tweet to Baseball Prospectus blogger @cwyers. Chances are very good that he’ll answer. That’s unique to Twitter.
And it’s certainly not just baseball fandom that’s enhanced by Twitter; like StumbleUpon, all areas of interest are represented. Are you a tech geek? Follow @mashable and @mattpeckham. Political junkies will be all about @fivethirtyeight and @pourmecoffee. And @mental_floss and @OMGfacts are never-ending sources of did-you-know tidbits. To catch up on the uproarious (fictional) antics of Kaptain Karl Welzein and his lusty hunt for megababes, follow the wonderfully named @dadboner. Keep up with Colby goings-on with @colbygrlproblems and @inthecac. Most importantly, follow your favorite Echo sportswriters @timbadtweets and @rob_yee.
The point is, Twitter is awesome. It’s made me laugh way, way too many times for me to count. It’s made me think about baseball, people, life and everything in between. It’s made me cry. Yes, I actually sat in my car and cried when @d_a_cameron, a writer for the blog fangraphs.com, tweeted that he’d been diagnosed with Leukemia.
So make like the twitter.com home page tells you and follow your interests. You’ll sure as hell be glad you did.