A lengthy war of words on Twitter last week between UK and US wine writers prompted me to write this. I don't want to recap it; suffice to say the crux of the argument was the nature of Twitter and of writing itself. Are Tweets unedited snapshots? Should writers strive to be interesting even at 140 characters?
Should anyone be able to define what Twitter is for everyone else?
I tried to mediate the fight because I really don't care how you or anyone else uses Twitter. I can only control what I do. About that, I care a great deal.
My Twitter manifesto:
1. Every tweet, even in the middle of a conversation, should be intelligible if it stands alone. I never send a tweet that says "@randomguy @smithandwesson @cylon6 Yeah, me too."
2. I try to be interesting, informative or funny. Every tweet. I may not succeed, but to me, tweeting is writing. It's a different medium from a blog or a novel or a screenplay, but it is writing, and the limitations are part of what I love about it.
3. You don't have to follow me, and I don't have to follow you. Moreover, the two are not connected.
4. Maybe I should be, but I'm not tweeting to advance my business interests; I just love Twitter. Hence I'll tweet about whatever I'm interested in: baseball, wine, restaurants, a funny guy I saw on the street. If you are not interested in some of that, please see rule #3.
5. Hashtags make Twitter harder to read. I only use them if I'm at a professional conference (#ewbc). I might make exceptions if I could master the hashtag-as-joke meme, but so far #abjectfailure.
6. I can't respond to every tweet in which somebody tags me without violating Rules #1 and 2. I know that some users consider this rude; please see rule #3.
You don't have to follow me on Twitter (see rule #3), but if you want to, it's @wblakegray.