Sunday, November 8, 2009

Twitter In The Over 50 Club

A buddy of mine at work, who is roughly the the same age as me (55), informed me one day that he had been "talked into signing up with Facebook." He then went on to describe how stupid and pointless it is. I asked him about Twitter;

"Oh hell no", he said. "I can see where teenagers would like it. They can talk on the phone for 3 hours about nothing. But what am I going to tell everybody, that I cut my toenails today? Who gives a shit!"

I have to admit, I'm somewhat sympathetic to this view. I signed up with this stuff last March, and although I've found it interesting in a sociological kind of way, I haven't been able to make much use of it. As the conversation with my friend went on, I told him that I had followed on endurance auto race from Japan, courtesy of Drayson Racing. It triggered some long forgotten memories.

DraysonRacing Good morning from Okayama. We are approx. an hour from the start of Asian Le Mans Series Race 2. Jonny will again start from the pole.4:03 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

DraysonRacing The car has now taken its place at the point of the grid. We are approx. 20 mins from the green flag. 3 hours,/136 laps will be run today.4:41 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

In the early '60's, Major League Baseball was almost always played during the day. Most stadiums didn't have lights yet, and even for those that did, night games were a novelty. For a school aged kid, this presented a problem until the invention of the pocket sized transistor radio. Whether a jock or a nerd, cool guy or dweeb, on certain days in October, the kid with the transistor radio was the most popular kid in school.

DraysonRacing GREEN FLAG!4:58 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

During recess, we'd follow that poor kid around the playground like a pack of dogs waiting for their bowls. At lunchtime, you would have seen us all out on the grass, Indian Council style, in a circle, cross-legged, in silence, staring at the tiny magic box.

DraysonRacing Give & take of traffic has us back 14 secs to the leader; ahead of 3rd by 2.5 secs. All-told, the gaps remain close; 2 hrs, 14 min to go.5:44 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

As time went on, they came out with a little ear piece that connected to the radio with a wire. That meant that if a kid was sufficiently discreet, he could listen in class. Updates could be whispered. or notes could be passed, and we could all stay informed. One time I remember, the teacher was writing on the blackboard with her back turned to the class when a kid near the front and off to the side held up his binder with the message:


and that's when it clicked. Waiting for the Twitter updates had turned me into a 10 year old again.

DraysonRacing Drayson Stop 2 - Lap 87, 55 mins remaining - Shell Fuel, Michelin Tyres and a Driver Change. Jonny IN, Paul Out. Running P3. Great stop!7:04 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

Of course, the kid would eventually get caught. No worries, another would have one and the updates would continue. As the saying goes, history doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes.

DraysonRacing 15 mins remaining and Jonny is 10 seconds behind the Audi in P4.7:43 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

On March 20, the regular race season opens with the 12 hours of Sebring. I don't know if other teams are doing this yet. Multiple Twitter updates could be as good a way to "watch" the race as any.

DraysonRacing 6 minutes and 2 seconds remain. Jonny calls in to confirm the Audi within his sight is for position. It definitely is!7:52 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

DraysonRacing 1.5 seconds, 4 minuts remaining between Drayson and P47:53 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

DraysonRacing Jonny flashes by just off the rear of the Audi... 0.475 seconds!7:54 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

In any case, I've found another use for Twitter. It took a long time, but it was just a matter of staying with it. Sooner or later, the Law of Unintended Consequences kicks in.

DraysonRacing Jonny takes P4. White flag lap!!!7:57 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

DraysonRacing Team ends 2009 'World Tour' on high note! P4!!! Highest Privateer Finisher! Fastest race lap, again, by Jonny.8:01 PM Oct 31st from TweetDeck

That's all for today. It's time to cut my toenails.


Laurel said...

I was one of the people who thought Twitter was a waste of time until I checked it out and eventually signed up. Since then I've wasted a lot of time trying to convince other people it's worth doing.

I think the biggest obstacle is the basic Twitter question "What are you doing?" Twitter would be useless to me if that's all it was.

I'm hooked on Twitter because I learn a lot of things there that I don't see anywhere else. It's also amusing.

People who haven't tried it don't realize they have total control over it. They don't have to tweet if they don't have anything to say, and they don't have to follow people who just tweet about clipping their toenails. I certainly don't.

Another thing people don't realize is there are just as many businesses and organizations using Twitter as individuals. They don't tweet about what they're doing; their tweets provide links to news, discounts, recipes, and lots more.

Ahh, I've just gone through all the arguments that haven't convinced anyone before. In my opinion they're being left behind, but it's their choice.

Local So-and-so said...

Good point about the Twitter question. If most of one's friends don't use twitter, then what's the point of posting everyday mundane info? I've found some good links there, just enough to keep me coming back. Like following blogs, it is what you make it.

Anonymous said...

This story is by far the best reason I have found so far to not hate twitter. While I still think it only gets so much buzz because loudmouth narcissists and hack PR people use it to make themselves sound cutting edge, I understand it a lot better now.