Monday, August 4, 2008

Neglected Tabs, Storyteller Microbloggers, and the Neverending Cycle

I woke up today wanting to write but not knowing what to write. I thought about diving into the creative capitalism conversation and seeing what I could find in there. I thought about responding to an email a friend sent me about meat and responsible consumption. I thought about digging into some Clay Shirky. But I figured I'd do some reading first and then make some decisions.

A couple of tabs that have been sitting neglected in Firefox the past few days beckoned. Seemed like as good a place to start as any.

I reread a great article about simplicity and ubiquity. I read another article about web services that solve only problems that the web itself creates. And, since both mentioned Twitter, I stopped there and wandered off to see what the people I follow have been tweeting the past couple of days.

As I clicked back through some history, I started thinking about why I post what I post on Twitter.

And I remembered what a friend wrote me when she first read my Twitter feed:

it sounds like you're a crazy person! wtf are you updating people on your minutia? eating stale chips? what???

I told her it was an experiment, that I wasn't sure if Twitter would ever amount to anything for me, but I was trying to figure it out. And I dug it, dug the weirdness, dug people's willingness to tweet just about anything.

But that doesn't explain why I experiment the way I experiment: why I post about stale chips, Art Garfunkel, narrowly averted cupcake disaster, or Mr. Empty Promises.

I remembered some thoughts I'd had about posts of the week.

I had a moment a few weeks ago when I decided I wanted more storyteller microbloggers in my life, and I figured I could make that happen if I could locate a Twitter-fiend blogger that posts his or her favorite tweets of the week. Not his or her own tweets. Not a self-published greatest hits. Lots of people do that. I wanted to find a blogger that posts the choicest tweets from the set of microbloggers that he or she follows.

Ten minutes of searching for such a blogger proved fruitless, so I went back to work.

Later that day, however, I started dreaming about becoming that blogger. Every time I'd check in on Twitter, I'd favorite the tweets I enjoyed most, and, once I'd accumulated five or ten favorites, I'd throw them up on the blog and thank my Twitter friends for posting them.

I took the situation's pulse. I made a point to use the favoriting function for a couple of weeks. I looked for stuff that I thought was top quality. I favorited and unfavorited. And I had a good time. But I realized as I did it that I just simply couldn't count on myself to devote enough time to tweet reading to consistently come up with favorite tweets posts and make them good.

So I shelved the idea.

But I left a little archive of favorites on my Twitter account, and, now that I'm thinking about why I post what I post, I figure maybe those favorites can explain. Maybe they'll illustrate what I love about Twitter and what kind of microblogger I aspire to be.

@loiclemeur Kids look great on Segways while adult men look like sexual deviant people because of their posture

@mriggen OH: (To toilet-mastering preschooler, who's been having, ah, "issues")Remember, you control the poop. The poop does not control you.

@robinbloor Charlie Chaplin once won third prize in a Charlie Chaplinlook-alike contest

@joeyheadset Fistbook is a social networking utility that connects my fist with YOUR face.

@christinelu WTF. some old man from Turkey on FB just edited details of how we kneweach other saying we dated in '92. that would put me at 16 you perve.

What do you think? Is it the storytelling I love? The vivid images they all conjure? The fact that they remind us that funny is everywhere, that life's more enjoyable if we're on constant lookout for silliness and share it whenever we can?


Well. I don't know. I'll keep tweeting. Someday it'll all make sense. And, when it does, I'll explain in detail on the internets somewhere. In the meantime, I'll leave you with what is still perhaps my favorite tweet of all time.

Thank you Marc Andreessen for posting select dirty tweets for a few days last fall. This one I've thought about, both seriously and for laughs, quite a bit since then:

@PandaFace Girls like her f*** up the good guys and good guys f***ed up by girls like her f*** up good girls.. Never ending cycle.

*Note: The original plan was to post this to and chalk it up as a dinosaur post. But then I figured why post total ridiculousness on the serious blog now that I have a catch-all crazythought barrel up and running. But THEN I remembered that Posterous, the excellent little simpleblogging platform on which I'm writing unconstrained, has a new feature I want to try. So, now, I'm going to send this email to, and, automagically, I'll post to both A More Perfect Market and to Radical Transparency (the aforementioned Posterous blog).

Posted by email from Radical Transparency (posterous)