Thought Catalog
April 23, 2012

What I Think Twitter Is For

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What is the issue?

I hate when people use Twitter like it’s a dumping ground for every non-thought that crawls through their brain. I hate when a medium capable of streamlining viral ideas and rehybridizing the way both tactical and absurd information can be wired to feed instead of simply fart in the way all other social media is designed to fart, some users use the medium to dump links and social heehaw as if all the world is an audience and all thought is necessary to be taken beyond the brain. If anything is killing the internet it is this slovenliness of purpose, which by definition seems a counterpoint to what people who got their units in a cram about Jonathan Franzen crapping on it seemed so aroused by.

“We like twitter as a place to relax and goof around!” isn’t really a rallying cry I can get behind. It feels like used cars with fast food wrappers all inside them, and in light of that I actually agree with Franzen and wish Twitter did not exist, though I think he misses entirely what I find as the point. I don’t want to watch you talk to friends or know where you are going for dinner. I think the value of the medium of a controlled and constant thing like Twitter is using it to regularly and instantly deform and restratify moods and moments, create slight bends in both the user’s brain from forcing their consideration to reconnect a manner of thinking into an enjoyable and somehow pleasantly disruptive bolt, which on the user end, even in feeding stream, might slightly alter something about their own mood, space, or idea.

Of course contained within this status, often elements that can look offhand and retarded (and often are the product of one or both) can further bend the continuum by forcing the end user to consider them in another way. As much as I like people who tweet with what seems to be calculated brilliance designed to either make me laugh or make me linger even briefly on their line, equally or even more often it is the spontaneity of the idea that brings the curve: an exclamation or ejection or moment of panic or prolonged boredom even in a line that seems too casual for high thought can in reception, and in the flood of other users, produce a feeling that licks my blood.

Here are some examples of recent tweets that struck me, lined up here on a continuum from the more seemingly calculated ideas, to those that seem more offhand, which in spectrum allow a wide emotional range in what would otherwise be another fart party Facebook field:

@markleidner scarier version of wolf-man myth called man-man where every full moon after gory & agonizing non-transformation, he remains a man

@daniel_bailey The babies in the movie babies become the kids in the movie kids

@chen_village mark rothko spreading peanut butter and jam on one piece of toast exactly the way you are imagining right now

@mollybrodak why little girls at their tea parties with their dolls are always drinking from empty cups

@fourteenletters brief banana startup grumpy noun attack with hopes of other wasps whoopaloops word vaseline is wanted over baseline plus gut 4 growth fug

@miketopp Light-emitting spaghetti is not funny.

@tao_lin heard national-geographic-style narration of ‘this human is trying to remember what website he was going to look at’ while trying to do that

@Discountdracula Want a photocopy of my hair?

@kristenisk I’d be a really sh-tty native american

@jordancastro bill cosby seems perverted

@david_fishkind 4 8 15 16 23 42 are the ages the average internet user attempts suicide

@pompadoured My son is telling me that Twitter is “a lot of pictures.”

So, you know, it goes and goes. An idea pops into the field you’ve built and you read it and you see it and maybe you think about it or you laugh or maybe you just keep scrolling and either way a second later the thing is gone, but having seen the thing something maybe has happened or has not happened with or without you knowing and at least maybe you felt better for a second or less alone or at least you are staring at something that is changing on the machine and isn’t someone selling you something always and anyway it disappears and this feels good, to have the most thing you need in the world here be maybe clicking a button that archives the thought so you can look at it again later and feel it again or anyway have it somewhere hidden like your thinking is itself or not at all.

Building a solid stream of people who put the right kind of speech inside your head while also aiming to architect that streamlined feeling in your online thinking in a way worth letting out beyond your walls sometimes can be instructive or at least something to brush against in the same way the paint color in your room is or the clothes you have on or the kind of toothpaste or so on, all of which are small things but maybe can be big things for a second or it’s even better when they never are and you’re just sitting there and not worried about buying or selling or communicating or saying hello or feeling pressured to respond to an email or a more direct feeling which are always just as much available as you could like by switching tabs or getting up from the computer and going the heck outside when you feel like doing that but maybe you don’t feel like doing that and it’s okay to be comforted by a machine and even if the first half of this essay in which I more antagonistically assaulted the nature of what I do not like about social networks did not strike you you have your own way to be struck and it’s okay to hate it while you use it also as that seems the relationship so many people have with the inanimate things they use and maybe, the poets crap on poetry and the deskjobbers crap on their deskjobs and so on, and anyway it’s better to take your feelings out on the machine instead of going bananas and stabbing somebody in a bank somewhere or being rude to loved ones or in general having something bottled up and not knowing what to look at or where to put the ideas you want out of you without the necessity of creating anything that lasts beyond a mood or some persona. TC mark

image – Twitter

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