I recently made the cardinal mistake of forming an expectation of my Twitter following. I transformed their 1234-or so-strong brethren into an audience, a receptacle for my 140-character-long monologues, suffused with sparkling wit and incisor-sharp observation. But, however much I strained and sweated over their birth, few of my tweet-babies garnered any perceptible admiration from my followers. In the world that is Twitter, this is best measured by retweetability; the number of times a tweet gets forwarded on to other followings.
I decided to give Twitter a break when I saw none of my tweets being retweeted, yet all a celebrity (even those that only exist within Twitter) had to do was utter the equivalent of a fart in the digital ether, and it was reproduced and perpetuated ad nauseum. How can you compete with that? And more so, if that is the level at which one must pitch to the Twitter public, then why would one want to win?
A few weeks away from daily tweeting has reminded me that I’m not on Twitter as a performer, nor self-publicist, nor anything else, because Twitter cannot be solely defined as a platform for any of those things. It is all things to all tweeters, a multifaceted complex organism, with little purpose, and much proven potential. Twitter is as diverse as the people who use it, and it is both naïve and arrogant to assume to predict behaviours therein: I remain clueless as to what constitutes a successful tweet, farts and all. Twitter just is.