My final tweet was this past Wednesday. I deactivated my account a few hours later.
In one of the most bizarre assignments I’ve received in my three years at NW, my community journalism professor required that my classmate and I Tweet for a week. More than that, the assignment was not just to put up what we’re doing for the day or what delicacy we just had in the caf, but rather to share our deep and heartfelt opinions on campus events and student life.
Admittedly, I went into the project with distaste for the social networking site. Twitter is nothing more than a stripped down Facebook status. All the same, I was stuck with the strenuous task of updating my Twitter feed three times a day.
I would like to be able to tell you all that my eyes were opened to the beauty and purpose that can be found in 140 characters. However, each time I struggled to construct a meaningful statement, I realized how few people actually care about what I have to say, especially on Twitter.
It was, of course, interesting to follow the “New York Times” or CNN,” but aside from my professor and classmate, the only people following me were four random people, one of whom only spoke German. How did these people find me, and why would they follow me?
Perhaps they really passionately agreed with my support of Kathy in chapel or my disgust with some whiny students I had complained about. More likely, however, it would appear that they merely wanted to create contacts and market their products, meaning the only people who cared to follow me were doing so due to my buying power, not my highly intellectual thoughts on NW’s campus.
Twitter may be a great way for people to follow the lives of their favorite celebrity. For anyone who has ever wanted to know what kind of bagel Johnny Depp eats, or wanted to start a revolution in the MENA region for that matter, the Twitter feed is a wonderful commodity, and Tweeting may even be useful.
For an average person, the only people who will really read the constant slew of what goes on in a typical day are family and friends, and even they might not care that you had a Diet Coke with lunch. My experience, admittedly short, failed to show me the value of posting inane, or even profound, thoughts that nobody will read anyway.
My only hope for the Twitter culture that has infected the news sources and high schools of our nation is that I’m missing something. Perhaps there is some awesome, communal joy to be found amidst the Twitter universe that I either overlooked or somehow missed out on during my brief stint.
If I’m wrong, tell me. Help me find a reason to try again.