The Garden City Telegram
4/6/2013
SOUTHWEST LIFE

Without even trying, I'm already a Twit on Twitter

I'm a twit.

That's what they call people who use Twitter, right?

I have no idea what I'm doing or why I'm doing it.

My children tweet, and my daughter asked me if I wanted to subscribe, and I said sure.

She signed me up on my phone, except it wouldn't allow me access.

I left it alone for a few weeks, but one day I decided to try and log on again.

After a few tries, a message popped up that I was suspended.

How could I be suspended from something I was never granted access to.

Technology would be great if I understood it better.

So I clicked on a link that explained why I was suspended.

I was suspended for following other tweeters too aggressively.

First of all, if I'm not on Twitter how can I follow anyone, let alone following them too aggressively?

Secondly, how do you follow someone too aggressively?

It's not like I'm physically stalking someone.

A further explanation informed me that "Aggressive following is defined as indiscriminately following hundreds of accounts just to garner attention."

You can follow 2,000 before it becomes aggressive. There are exceptions, but who cares, I was not following anyone.

But if I surpassed the limit while not even being able to log on to Twitter, imagine what kind of trouble I'll get into now that I have been allowed back on.

There also is something called aggressive follow churn. That means you follow someone, drop them, follow them, drop them follow ... you get the idea.

Who would do this and why?

I signed up to follow a friend I used to work with and then mostly everything else is sports-related.

Once I served my suspension and was allowed back on Twitter, even though I wasn't on it to begin with, I started to browse through some of the Tweets by the Twits I follow.

It seems to me that any random thought people have in their heads are passed along for the masses to consume.

One person Tweets about a show that's coming on TV.

Another recaps a baseball game from the night before.

Another tells us he's excited for opening day.

Not until the berth of social media did so many people feel that they needed to share every thought that pops into their head.

It used to be you had to have some sort of talent to be on TV or the radio or to have your thoughts appear in a newspaper.

Now everyone has their own media outlet in the palm of your hand.

Smart phones allow us to connect instantly with the world.

Media — television, radio and print — use social media to instantly get the news out to their followers. There are benefits. No longer does anyone have to wait until the next days paper or the evening news to hear what's going on around them.

But like everything, it's a good thing unless it's overused or mishandled or taken advantage of. People tend to grow a pretty sturdy backbone when they put their opinions out and do not have to face anyone in person.

Aside from the good and bad of social media, personally, I'm not sure where these people find the time to tweet, text or post their thoughts and photos on Facebook.

Millions of people do. Although I have not fallen head over heels for social media, I understand its place, and it's growing.

Even a 50-year-old guy can become a twit — just not an aggressive one.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.