Don’t Fear the Twitter

In the summer of 2008, a friend invited me to join Twitter, but I didn’t. “I’m not sure what it is, or what it’s good for,” I wrote. It wasn’t until Twitter exploded into public consciousness and wide use (when was that—early 2010?) that I jumped into it, and even then, it was with the proviso that I wouldn’t stick with it if I didn’t find it to be useful.

I find it to be more than useful. And in fact, if you’re not on Twitter yourself, you’re missing one of the most useful tools on the Internet.

For old radio geeks, reading one’s Twitter feed is a little like watching news cross the wire, as in days of old. Stories roll in, and you choose whether to pass them by or explore them further. I use it to get updates on blogs and websites I like, to get stories and opinions from writers I respect, and to keep in touch with friends both real and virtual. If you tailor your list of follows carefully—which means mostly evaluating each feed before you decide to follow it—your Twitter feed can become the most interesting place on the Internet, and it can replace any other web portal you might be using.

If you are not following me on Twitter, you can still see my latest tweets in the right-hand column of this blog. In a half-assed attempt at branding, I try to limit them to the following topics: music/radio, football, beer, and random philosophizing. (So no politics, as best I can contrive to avoid it.) I also tweet my own online gasbaggery, both here and over at Popdose. The column tends to cycle quickly, however, especially during Packer games or when I’m sitting in some bar drinking with one hand and tweeting with the other. So you may have missed some a few highly worthwhile items I’ve tweeted over the couple of weeks. Including:

“The 10 Most Ridiculous Album Cover Trends of All Time”: a great piece from the indispensable Cracked.com. It’s remarkable how widespread certain artistic clichés really are, although a friend disputes that photos of naked women with guitars could ever go out of style.

The 10 Commandments of David Bowie: from Eric Alper, a guy who does PR for a Canadian music firm. There’s a reason why he’s got nearly 83,000 followers—his tweets and his website are fabulous.

Elton John Threatens to Kill Himself: in 1972, Elton made an interesting choice at a Royal Command Performance, deciding to play the single oddest track from Honky Chateau for the invited crowd. A video clip of the performance proves a couple of things: first, just how mind-blowingly good Elton was in 1972, and second, how Dangerous Minds is all kinds of awesome, which I have said before.

“Three Rules to Define the Term “One Hit Wonder” in 2012″: VillageVoice.com has a blog called Chart Talk. Its recent piece attempting to define that critical term was fascinating—and the three rules it propounds should be adopted by all right-thinking Top 40 geeks.

“How Bad Can It Be? Case File #23: Saturday Night Live’s aborted 1980-81 season”: Every day I spend significant time reading The Onion‘s AV Club. Its TV show wrap-ups are indispensable, whether they’re breaking down the latest Breaking Bad, or I’m digging back into the archives as The Mrs. and I rewatch The Sopranos from start to finish. This piece from an ongoing AV Club series examines the first year of the rest of SNL‘s life, after the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players decamped for elsewhere, and finds that the conventional wisdom about that cursed season doesn’t adequately explain what happened.

All of these articles have appeared on my Twitter feed within the last couple of weeks. And each one of them appeared on the Twitter feeds of their respective sites.

So go out and get on Twitter already. It’s what people do in the 21st century. You don’t have to tweet if you have nothing to say—many people don’t. You can participate just by lurking.  When you’re ready to follow me, you can do it right here.

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