There’s a decent chance that you are reading this right now, thanks to the virtues of social media. I post the blog to the multiple channels available to me and some of you see it there and if not, you may be direct here by other websites, who see my posts via the same social networks. Many, if not all of you, are at least familiar with what Facebook is, even if you haven’t immersed yourself into the world of Farmville and MobWars. Even through the shameless exploitation of my personal information, tastes, proclivities, and other sensitive information, I enjoy it. And if Facebook makes a buck on me; so be it. Its provided to me, for nothing, hours of entertainment. Most of which comes from making fun of people and being overly judgmental of others from the safety and comfort of my snuggie.
What many of you may not be so familiar with is Twitter. Originally intended to be a “micro-blogging” site, it allows you to post whatever you like in 140 character snippets. So, not unlike your typical Facebook status updates, you can do the same through Twitter. Only its way more awesome. Allow me to explain how it works and why I’ve become borderline obsessed with using it.
It works exactly like the Facebook status updates, like I had stated, but again, in only 140 characters. That’s spaces, punctuations and everything. 140 keystrokes, might be a better way to put it. When you tweet, it shows up in the timeline or feed of everyone that follows you. You, in turn, decided who you follow and whose bits of wit and wisdom you might like to read. What is nice about Twitter as opposed to Facebook is that you can follow someone and they don’t have to follow you back. You want to follow me? Great. I may not follow you. If you constantly Tweet about how yummy the Starbucks seasonal coffee is every day, I don’t want you clogging up my feed. Nothing personal, I may really like you, but I want my time and space reserved for what I want to see.
My time and space is reserved mostly for sports and news related items. I was recently showing someone my Twitter timeline who was unfamiliar with how it works and I was taken back by how baseball centric my entire thing is. I went down the line pointing at Tweets saying “baseball writer, baseball writer, ESPN writer, baseball writer, baseball web site, ESPN writer, buddy, Breaking News, baseball writer, Sports Illustrated writer” and so on and so forth. A few ball players were mixed in there, but for the most part, its baseball guys, writers, and news.
And here’s why. I love baseball and I love following the sport. Thoroughly. I get excited for the winter meetings and I read quite a bit about prospects (not just the Reds) who are getting moved around, and who is having interest in this guy, and which team is searching for that postion player to fill a hole in their lineup. It’s all very boring to most people. I find it fascinating. Rambled a bit there. Anyway, I like Twitter because it gives me the instant gratification of knowing the news right away. God Bless the internet and ESPN.com and CNN.com and all of those web pages that bring us news mere hours after it happens, but now I get the new 30 seconds after it happens. When the Reds signed Ryan Madson a few days ago, I saw the rumors swirling on Twitter long before it happens. You can see the momentum build to its penultimate moment and then it happens and the Twitterverse exhales collectively.
You don’t see any of that in the paper. You don’t hear the rumors leading up to a signing until the next day or two days perhaps. Unless something is worth writing an entire article about, you don’t hear any of it. Not true with Twitter. In 140 characters Ken Rosenthal tells me from the lobby of the hotel in Minneapolis that the Angels are in agreement with Pujols. He doesn’t know any details, and of course, that’s the meat, but you know and you know now.
Another reason that I like Twitter is that you can connect with some of these people, these other worldly, previously untouchable people and connect on a personal level. It’s no more than a fleeting tweet where you say something to them (you “mention” someone in a tweet and they get alerted) and they respond. Or you send them a question (sportswriters take Q’s all the time…I love watching the Reds play and following John Fay of the Cincy Enquirer during the game. High comedy and it adds to the broadcast. Learn tons more about what’s happening). I actually got to meet one of ESPNs MLB writers in Arizona last year because of Twitter. We didn’t solve the worlds problems or anything, but we had tweeted back and forth a few times regarding my trip there (he lives in Phoenix) and told me to stop and chat if I saw him at a game. He happened to be there and I did. He remembered me, we chatted baseball a little bit, and I was on my way. But it was cool. I read that guy every day and he remembered me from Twitter.
To quote one of the more influential poets of our time, Sir Mix-a-Lot, I’m hooked and I can’t stop starin. I’ll take questions from anyone who has questions about Twitter. You can follow me if you want; my name is @joshfrancis50 (the @ symbol precedes every Twitter handle, FYI). Get started, dig in, and have fun with it.
With all of this in mind, I thought I’d take one post a week and share a few of my Tweets for the week. I don’t think I’m going to start tonight, because this post is already starting to ramble. I thought it might be a good idea for a few reasons. One, Twitter sort of acts as a note pad for my thoughts for the week. I think of things all the time that I could maybe write a post about, but then I forget it 10 minutes later. But with Twitter, I condense some of these and now I can go back and review them, share them and expound on them. The other reason is that most of you aren’t on Twitter, and might find them funny. Some will just be comical, some may involve longer stories (which is fine), and others my just stand on their own.
I don’t know for sure, but Twitter may even be responsible for my getting noticed by @fish_report. I never told him about it, but I tweeted it, and maybe he picked it up. But I don’t know.