Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tweet, tweet!

I joined Twitter the other day out of curiosity. I don't really understand the concept, why limit yourself to 140 characters while trying to have a conversation. But it's not really about talking, it's about texting on a computer, and I have to admit I only ever manage short texted conversations, time delays and other things always seem to get in the way.

The Twitter website is a little obtuse to use. Setting up the account was easy enough, though living in the 'Rest of the World' meant I could sign up to send tweets from my phone, but couldn't receive any updates so I skipped that step. It's not easy to find people and it won't allow me to import any contacts from Outlook, though it will from web-based email providers. I started following Maryb without realising I had. And was pleasantly surprised to find that I gained a follower (thanks, Deborah!) without ever having tweeted.

Having browsed a bit it seems that most people use another application, either web-based or downloaded to your computer, to keep track of Twitter such as TweetDeck or TweetChat. Some make it easier to follow chats, where everyone puts a hashtag in their tweets so they are grouped together (as in #xxxchat); and replies, where you address your tweet to a particular person (as in @username). Perhaps it all becomes second nature but I'm not convinced. Still I'll take a gander at #litchat tomorrow as Anastasia is hosting a discussion about expat literature.

So between forums and email and Facebook and now Twitter I spend my time rattling around cyberspace trying to communicate, yet I'm terrible at keeping in touch with people. I miss face-to-face interaction in English and find all the substitutes lacking in some way. Skype or MSN should be better but unfortunately in this house they result in an authority vacuum, so as I try to have a serious conversation, my mother watches as the children cut their doll's hair, raid the kitchen presses and finally climb on my head. It's a little distracting to say the least.

Perhaps I should admit I'm looking for the impossible and accept the substitutes with their failings or maybe I should just get out more....

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