Twitter has never worked for me. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, why I never gathered that many followers or even spent much time on it. Overall I just didn't get it.
Those of you who are successful tweeters will think this revelation is as astute as saying "there is no spoon" when, duh, this reality is an illusion and everyone knows you're The One anyway, so just get busy. But what I realized is this: You have to actually talk to people for Twitter to work. Not only that but you have to talk to strangers. Strangers!
I discovered this because of Sean Ferrell. Today I logged onto Twitter and someone had tweeted something to him that was vaguely congratulatory. Don't ask me what or who it was; I don't remember. But I wanted to know if Ferrell had won a prize or sold a book, mainly so I could writhe on the floor in a fit of self-loathing and jealousy if he had. Instead of scrolling back through a bunch of tweets, however, I clicked on his name to go to his homepage and see if I missed anything.
By the way, I rarely go to Twitter homepages. I mean, why would I? Quite possibly, that is another Twitter misunderstanding on my part.
Ferrell's feed had many messages to many people. Not just his pithy and humorous observations about lunch, but all kinds of communications with @ signs to named individuals, making my small attempts at conversation pale in comparison. And then I realized this is why he has 800 followers and I don't. The clouds parted, a light bulb showed up above my head, etc. etc. The whole experience was instructive and humbling. Talk to people? So simple! So pure! What could be more human?
But honestly I can't promise I'll change my ways and suddenly become a chatty Kathy replying to all sorts of comments. Mainly because I don't always have a witty comment at hand and I'm not one to say something just to say something. But I learned, gosh darn it, and doesn't that count?
I could be wrong about this though. Maybe that's not how you make Twitter work better. Maybe talking only works at cocktail parties. Maybe we should go back to smoke signals.