OK, friends, I need your help.
It has become necessary that I join this thing called Twitter because in less than three weeks I am needing to be in a "Conversation" about cardboard, with some very important people. I know zero about Twitter. Is it like Facebook? I am on Facebook, yet I'm also never on Facebook. See- I'm so uncool that I even spell it out in full - F.A.C.E.B.O.O.K. (I understand that the really with-it people say "FB"). I've seen this Twitter logo on people's blogs and think, "hey - that's a cute bird icon. I should reverse-applique it sometime." And felt no inclination whatsoever to uh.. twit? tweet? Until now. So I went and signed up and now I have an account. But um... what does one do with it? How does it work? Is it like status updates on Facebook, er, I mean FB? I've heard you can auto-post like how I cheat on my blog posts and line them up to self-publish when I'm on vacation. How does that work when you're in a "conversation?" Do you publish all your updates at once, like a automatic machine gun going off? Isn't that rude? Do you have to be sitting at your computer? Do you have to go to a special webpage to read tweets? What about conversations - whose twitter page do you visit? Twenty at once? What if people ask you a question? Do you even know that the question is directed at you? Oh, wait, that's what the @ is for, right? So it would look like this --:
Other People: Hey, what have you made in cardboard lately?
Me (wondering who they mean): (silence)
Other People: Helloooooo? I'm talking to you!
Me (wondering if I should speak up): (silence)
Other People: Hey! You! Yes, you! I'm talking to you @ikatbag!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: Oh! Um, yeah, hi! Well, yes, uh.... well, @Other People, I made a cardboard house. What about you, @Second Fiddle, or you, @Third Wheel?
Do you reply like email/ichat? Can you interrupt? Also I've heard you need like one million followers. Seriously? Why? The logical part of my brain tells me that it sort of defeats the purpose of a social network if you keep your account a secret, but can't I just choose, say, 3 best friends? When I signed up for my account, the welcome page urged me to pick people to follow. Like President Obama, and Taylor Swift. Eeeek! Why would I want to eavesdrop on their conversations? Clearly, I'm missing some very important point here. But, okay, I'll obey. Here is my twitter thingamabob - anyone want to follow me?
And just in case I haven't sufficiently impressed upon you how From The Dark Ages I am, let me tell you about my cellphone - it's so old that it doesn't even have a camera on it, let alone android whatchamacallit. Only text capability. And I'm so undependent on it that when it died (for good) five days ago, I didn't even notice. My husband had to find a spare cellphone in the house and charge it up for me, until I have the time to go to the phone store and pick a new one. Hopefully Nokia, because it lasts forever and I can continue to stagnate for another decade before I have to learn to use some new technology. So no, I'm unlikely to do this twitter thing while "on-the-go". I'll just sit at my computer all afternoon, like a bad Skype session with no visuals.
Then there's this thing called a hashtag that I'm supposed to sprinkle in my conversations. I've read up about it and I know what it is and what it's for. But do I put it in every single message I send out? Er, I mean tweet. Does it have to be embedded within a real sentence? So, for instance, is this (see sparkling conversation below) wrong?
Me: Hey! Come join us for a fun afternoon of #CardboardFun!
Other people: Sweet! When is it?
Me: You mean #CardboardFun? It's on Wednesday, April 4!
Other people: What's it about?
Me: #CardboardFun, obviously!
Oh, this is so going to bomb. What kind of conversation is that? Are tweets even dialog? Or sequential?
The husband (he wins the Supportive Husband of the Year award, I swear) and I spent some time reading random tweets to try and figure out how they worked. We picked the MN Twins page because we like baseball. We really analyzed them, like code-breaker FBI agents, but for the life of us couldn't deduce anything useful. Why are there all these @ things in the same tweet? Like, what does "@John:@Mary"? mean? Whose tweet was that? And who's talking - John? Mary? Both? At the same time? Neither?
I'm going out on a prophetic limb here to say that I'm sure once I'm actually ON the bandwagon, I'm going to love it, like email and pinterest and blogging. But until then, Help, you guys! Educate me! Send in your advice in the comments so other people can read them too and needn't repeat your suggestions (and waste their time writing it all out). After you've gotten off the floor where you've been rolling about, guffawing, I mean.