Twitter: No, you still don’t get it.

[This isn’t the polished examination of Twitter I was planning it to be, but I’ve got other writing to do today, and it’s gets some thoughts out there that have been cluttering up my head for awhile, so… well, there you go.]

So there’s this thing going on with people who think they get Twitter – who predict or observe one or more demonstrably false things about the service after looking at it for a few minutes… and then write a ‘news’ article about it.

There’s this other thing going on with Twitter where celebrities see that folks like Stephen Fry has over 300 THOUSAND followers, Wil Wheaton has 242 THOUSAND followers… and they think “I’m a big star — I can do that. I SHOULD do that. It’s PUBLICITY.”

(There’s this third thing where people writing about Twitter see that celebrities are joining in, and infer something doubly wrong, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.)

So I want to talk about Twitter, what it is and isn’t, and I’m going to do it in the most ironic way possible — by comparing celebrity twitter-users. (Hate to explain the joke, but: it’s ironic because ‘celebrities’ make up such a tiny percentage of Twitter, and their involvement is all that mass media seems to grasp.)

First, let’s take a look at Seth Green’s page on Twitter. Here’s some of his most recent messages:

  • News: Robot Chicken will return on April 26th with the first of 10 new episodes. Seth has also recently batted around ideas for an RC film.
  • Watch “Without a Paddle” Thursday, March 19th on TBS @ 10:00PM.
  • Last year’s Buffy reunion can be purchased here –…
  • A sequel to Family Guy’s Blue Harvest will air on FOX in season 8
  • Seth has signed on to star in the upcoming “Mars Needs Moms,” a Disney feature adaptation of the Berkeley Breathed children’s novel.

Right. That’s about enough of that pablum.

Now (and I know this is an unfair comparison), let’s put up a few Tweets from Wil Wheaton:

  • Ok, last one before I get offline and set up for today’s D&D session: You really want to track May the Force be with you.
  • Because I’m sharing all kinds of awesome things this morning, a new shirt from @jephjacques that rocks my world…
  • RT @Lilibet “d20 dice cufflinks: srsly!” Holy crap, they’re actually affordable. DO WANT.
  • GAH! Fucking Kings.
  • Many of you point out that it’s Einstein’s birthday today. Holy carp. I decree that today is Science and Technology is Awesome Day.
  • Today is GEEKTASTIC: Not only is it pi day, it’s the 15th birthday of version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel. Also, I’m DMing tonight.
  • In the time it took me to walk to the car, the Kings scored 2 and tied the game. In the time it took me to start my car, they lost it. Sigh.

Okay, class, anyone see the difference?

Lemme help: Mr. Green is basically using his twitter page to repost promotional crap. Wil is telling you what he’s thinking. One is advertising, and one is making a connection.

Which one do you think I actually give a crap about?

Who do you think I actually (actively) *like*?

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m a fan of Seth Green. He’s a funny guy, and he’s smart, and I’m sure that he’s quite engaging as a person. But I’ll never know that from his page on Twitter.

Wil? Wil is like reading posts from ME (even when he bitches about how the Kings are tanking yet another game, which is nothing I care about, but still funny in the way that your friends getting worked up over things is sometimes funny).

And he’s got nothing on the way Stephen Fry works to connect with people: the man’s got over 300 thousand people following him, and makes an actual effort to follow all of them back, then apologizes when his mouse-clicking hand gets sore after an hour of clicking ‘Follow” and takes a break. Crikey.

Now, do I care about Wil Wheaton or Stephen Fry more (or even as much) as the other people I follow? No, I do not. I don’t follow them because they’re celebrities of one stripe or another — I follow them because they post things I enjoy. If they did not, I would not follow them.

That’s true of everyone I follow. That is, in fact, what I aspire to when *I* post to Twitter. Enrichment. Connection.

And yeah… sometimes I’m just bitching banal crap about spilling diet coke into a pocket of a borrowed jacket (sorry, hon!), so no, it’s not some kind of Zen answer to Life, the Universe and [trademarked], but it’s a hell of a lot more than “What are you doing?” and much, much more than “What are you Selling?”