Dear Crabby, Do You Understand Twitter?

Dear Crabby,

Many people I know are asking me to get on this Twitter thing and I just don’t understand it.  What is the difference between Twitter and just having e-mail?  What do all these short messages have to do with me? What’s the point?

Sincerely, Connie Confused

Dear Ms. Confused,

Twitter sure has become a phenomenon that is hard for us old-timers to understand. I have tried to get on there and see if I can make heads or tails of it. My editors thought it would be a good idea if I jumped on there and registered my name at @DearCrabby to begin interacting with my readers. As soon as I got on there, I had Ashton Kutcher asking to be my friend. Poor guy, must have had a rough go of it in the acting business to be stooping down to my level for friends. So I chatted with him a few times, but found that it was quite difficult to converse with only 140 characters each time. I found myself becoming more and more illiterate as I tried to shorten words on this new platform. I was writing things like, “How r u?” and “C u soon, K?” And I thought to myself, “Oh my goodness, my IQ just dropped about 30% and I have only been on here for a few moments.” I later learned that there are over 750 tweets per second on average, and that over 105 million people are using this platform. So I determined to continue learning about this new communication medium. It turns out there are several ways to interact with people. You can send them a “direct message,” which is pretty self-explanatory. Sending a “direct message” is about the same as sending an e-mail to someone; they are the only one who sees it and they can then respond directly to you. Now, a “mention” is very different. Apparently you can “mention” someone’s name in a tweet and it’s almost like talking behind their back – except they will be notified. Back in my day, this “mention” technique was used to let a gal know that you were sweet on her. I would wait until a buddy of mine was sitting next to a nice, young lady.  Then, I would tell him that I liked her in a voice loud enough for her to hear it too.  That way she would know I liked her without me actually telling her. I am not totally sure what the purpose of a “mention” is on Twitter. As it is now, people can say things about me, good or bad, and “mention” me by placing “@DearCrabby” in the sentence and I am notified. I do not know who else will ever see their tweet, with the other 10 million tweets per day out there, so I guess they are just wanting me to know that they are talking about me, but not necessarily to me. The other strange thing is the pound sign (#), which apparently stands for a “trending topic.” If there is a hot topic circulating on the web, people will place a # before the word. For example, last month my dear Elizabeth Taylor passed away. For about a day or so, #ElizabethTaylor was the hottest buzz word on Twitter. It was reported that the news of her death was actually broken on Twitter first. So, in answer to your question, I am not sure what the point of Twitter is for sure, and I don’t think anyone else really knows either. I think it is yet another sign of our ADD generation that wants to briefly communicate with millions, but does not want to go deep enough to really care. So if you end up trying it out, look me up while you’re on there!

Sincerely, @DearCrabby  😉

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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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