Monday, February 16, 2009

Twittering Thoughts

As you can see from the Twitter Updates block to the right, I have become a bit of a Twit-head lately. It seems that in the past week I have had a least three conversations with friends and family about Twitter and everyone want to know the skinny.

So I told them that one of the things about Twitter which appeals to me is the diversity of its Tweeple. Not only can you see and follow comments from people from all around the world, you can follow people who don't necessarily think the way you do. These are people who you might otherwise consider as "enemies" in the real world, but in the Twitterverse you can follow them, "listen" to their comments, respond if you care to, or simply ignore. I have likened the Twitter experience to that of a junior high school lunchroom - hundreds of conversations going on around you; some you listen to and some you ignore. And all the time you are focused on listening to your closest friends.

Recently I have found myself "following" a number of self-proclaimed "conservatives" including some who denote themselves to be "Christian conservatives." Sometimes one or more of them rant about something in the Congress that they are upset with, and I have taken the time to listen and try to understand. What I am sensing from this very small number of tweets is a sense of desperation with the recent US elections and some flailing about to express their angst. But I AM trying to understand them. Sadly, I am not sure the attempt at understanding is mutual.

One of the interesting things that has emerged from this experience has been my learning some of their "codes." Indeed there has been the use of "hashtags" (these are the words and abbreviations that being with a "hash" mark - #) that seem to follow along with conservative rhetoric. The most popular hashmark is #TCOT which stands for "Top Conservatives on Twitter." A number of these folks appear to wear it like a badge of allegiance. And that's the interesting part.

I wonder, why would anyone want to code their "tweets" with something that aligns them with a political group/movement? Is this a way of communicating with others of the same ilk? Is this a way of warning the rest of the world that the sentiments expressed are based upon a specific political bias or mindset? Is this a intentional means for drawing attention? Or, is this some form of allegiance to a cause?

The last idea scares me, but I think it might be closest to the truth.

But I am continuing to listen.

At the same time, I am considering a new hashtag for Twitter: #TPOT - "Top Patriots on Twitter." What do you think?

I am reminded of the Little Steven song "I am a patriot"

And I ain't no communist
But I ain't no capitalist
And I ain't no socialist
But I ain't no imperialist
And I ain't no Democrat
But I ain't no Republican
I only know one party
And it is freedom

I am, I am, I am
I am a patriot
And I love my country
Because my country is all I know

And the river opens for the righteous