September 21, 2010

Retweet This #Column

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I would totally eat a frankensalmon. Just, you know, putting that out there. And what about that whooping cough outbreak in California? Vaccinate your children, America. Jenny McCarthy is a dangerously stupid human being. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. No, today I want to talk about something much more serious. A plague overtaking the nation. That’s right, folks. It’s time to tackle The Twitter.So here’s the thing: I am late to the “micro-blogging” party. I’ve only recently started using Twitter regularly, and only as a means of shameless self promotion. I still don’t really understand what purpose it serves. Facebook, annoying as it is, at least makes some sense to me. Ditto Tumblr. But Twitter? My whole feed is links to stupid things I’ve written and “retweets” of @50cent.But maybe that is the point. Twitter represents a whole new frontier for celebrity (and microcelebrity). You can interact directly with honest-to-God, REAL, famous people! And it’s a win-win situation. When Justin Bieber tweets back at a 14-year-old fan, he gets to make all the little girls marvel at how accessible he is, and the lucky fan herself gets to be famous for a minute. Okay, time for a personal anecdote: So I have been writing music reviews for this website. And I had the brilliant idea to tweet my reviews at the musicians themselves. I have a very minimal understanding of how normal people use Twitter, but I figured if people searched for the artists or whatever, my stuff might pop up. So I tweeted at Kanye West and Rick Ross and nothing happened, obviously. But then I tweeted at Ducktails, who is like an ambient, chillwave-y bro (the main dude from Real Estate). That motherfucker retweeted my shit like three times. It was crazy! My article was all over twitter for the span of a few hours (or, you know, more than just my dad read it. That’s big for me).So latch on to a very niche celebrity, is what I’m saying. But seriously, it was very strange. Here was a guy, whose album I own, who I’ve paid to see perform, interacting with me. More accurately, making fun of me. It was surreal. Or maybe I am just too easily starstruck.My Internet fame didn’t last very long, either. The pace of the information age, or something. Did that make me sound like a grandma, or what? But as soon as your tweet gets bumped off the first page, it’s basically old news. That’s crazy!“So you’re a sad luddite, old before your time?” I can hear your thoughts, see. And yes, I am. But mostly, I am fascinated by the whole social networking phenomenon. And Twitter strikes me as the most ridiculous example of our collective need to overshare and collect friends. There are, like, twitter celebrities, normal people (or, rather, “normal” people) who have bajillions and trillions of followers. It’s like the MySpace celebrity, only even more anonymous and depressing.And, like, Twitter has its own language. I still haven’t mastered the etiquette. How do you add people you’ve met in real life? Do you have to respond when people tweet at you? Do I use a real picture of myself? What does RT mean? I just have so many questions. It’s also not a very effective way to communicate. I don’t understand why it’s so popular. I am confounded by you, Internet. Or maybe I’m just bitter, because I only have 25 followers. And Fiddy won’t tweet back at me. “Psh, Twitter has been around for like, so long. You are dumb.” This is also true, collective student body hive-mind. I am, how you say, a little slow on the uptake. I am the opposite of an early adapter. My cell phone has actual buttons (no touch screen) and can’t access the Internet. I know, right? By the time this article gets published, you’ll probably all have moved on to some other totally rad website for ego stroking and narcissism. I’ll be there soon enough. I just have to tweet this article right quick.Elana Dahlager is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at edahlager@cornellsun.com. Nutshell Library appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

Original Author: Elana Dahlager