Friday, August 14, 2009

The Landscape of Twitter

As I was sorting through my Google news feed the other day, I came across an article about Neil Gaiman's recent win of a Hugo Award. I was thrilled — but what thrilled me more than his win (but of course The Graveyard Book won!) was the fact that the writer was on Twitter.

So, I leaped over to Twitter and checked out his Tweets. (I learned that Tori Amos has written about him in some of her songs. And that someone in Russia was keeping him up past his bedtime right about the time he won his Hugo. Oh, and that he used salty language when he won his Hugo.)

I couldn't resist. I began following Neil Gaiman.

But wait — there's more.

I also started following a whole bunch of new cool people, too, including John Cleese, Stephen Colbert, Penn Jilette and Stephen Gould (the latter of whom was advertising for the adoption of a rooster who is "very sweet" when "not assaulting the chickens"). Oh, and God the Father as well as God the Mother. (Hey, I follow Sockington, a cat, so why not a couple of deities?)

I don't expect to learn the deep, dark secrets of what makes them brilliant (though if any wish to offer a clue, I wouldn't turn it down). I may not find much more than "Coffee and freshly shampood hair" (Emmy Rossum). I might laugh aloud at "Granny crashes into Walmart. You say that like it's a BAD thing" (Stephen Gould) or anything by Kevin Smith (which I can't quote here and keep my "most everyone" rating). I might blush at PostSecret's re-Tweet of Kama Sutra cookies. I don't care of they Tweet for themselves — I will enjoy the Tweets no matter who gets the credit.

So, from time to time, I will receive a brief note from someone I don't know but find interesting because of their line of work. They might make me laugh, or merely chuckle. Or I may just read about the everyday world of someone else on Planet Earth.

I won't always understand what they write; I'm still learning what "@" and "#" really mean in this brave new world, and I'm sure I've improperly re-Tweeted (though I have direct replies down to a science). Who knows.

Someone will have a salad, someone will get lost, someone will try to adopt out a rooster — and I will be bumped back into reality by a New York Times or BBC headline that reminds me that life goes on.

But I'm following Neil Gaiman. And that's a start.

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