Thursday, April 30, 2009

Twitter and banal narcissism

Twitter seems to be less than the vital social tool that hype makes it out to be. At least one study shows that 60 per cent of those who sign on to it quit after only a month.

Perhaps those who stay aboard have put in long hours of learning to make Twitter useful to them. One of the things I have learned is that one needs to cruelly prune the "Following" list -- the people one follows -- in order to cut out the dross.

For instance, one obscure midlist author -- even more obscure than I am -- likes to air trivial backyard laundry every day. (I will not use her name.) Within ten minutes this morning she hung out on display these socks and underpants:

"Have a great day and stay healthy."

"OK, bills are done and my mom just got here. Baby needs a new pair of shoes."

"It's no good for kids to use all the time. Kills both good and bad germs and leave them more susceptible to sickness." [Use what? Cocaine?]

"I think the washing of hands is good, and should be common sense, now my daughter's teacher wants everyone to have their own hand sanitizer."

This is where self-promotion spills over into banal narcissism, and who has time for that? Of course I'm no longer following her.

Just a few minutes earlier the bigfoot mystery writer Harlan Coben showed how to use Twitter as a promotion tool effectively, announcing in one tweet that his newest novel was available in the UK and in another that a previous tale had been sold to the movies. That's news his fans will want to absorb. And I'm a fan.

Now to go prune the "following" bush some more.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I recently heard the same stats about Twitter users (are they Twitterers?) bailing after a month. Apparently, subscriptions are down, too?

    I still haven't taken the Twitter plunge, but I did break down and make a Facebook page. I'm not sure that I get what all the hype is about w/Facebook either. It's been nice reconnecting with old friends and seeing pictures of their families, but that's about it. I have no interest in taking a quiz to find out which 80's rock star I am.