Okay, I admit it. I got suckered into writing a blog post about the basics of Twitter. Clearly, my humility knows no bounds, considering that I must have thought I could do this better than a kazillion other bloggers who have already done it.
Here’s how it happened and then unhappened. One day, about a month ago when I was a Twitter ingenue, I found that I had a new follower – and this one had all her clothes on! Wow! A follower out of the blue! How great is that? Her profile photo conveyed the image of a simple village girl, wearing simple village clothes, in India. In fact, her one-line bio said “I am a smart and simple girl, wanting to make some new friends.” Her fourth tweet, after “Hi All,” “Good Afternoon….” and “Hi people…..” was “can anybody tell me what twitter is and all that? bcos im new to this thing……” Pity this poor child! I needed to go into the rescuer mode I have always been tagged with and help this simple villager with her Twitter dilemma.
Her use of an elongated ellipsis should have been my first tip-off.
About a week went by, during which time I slaved over my keyboard trying to explain Twitter and learning that once you get beyond the basics there is no end in sight for enlightening your grateful readers, which, of course, would include simple village girls in India.
The next time I see our simple village girl she is sleek, drop-dead gorgeous, tastefully buxom and wearing a strapless, sleeveless, aqua-colored, luminescent sheath dress. Her eyebrows are arched and her long sleek black hair with brown highlights cascades over one shoulder. She is poised and confidently smiling into the camera. She has followers in the hundreds and she is following over a thousand, but she still uses broken English. Her one-line bio continues to proclaim, “I am a smart and simple girl, wanting to make some new friends.”
For the first time, I take a hard look at her Twitter personna. To make sure I have not been in a coma, I check the photo in my email from Twitter which first announced that she was following me. Yes, it is a simple village girl. (This photo is now gone entirely, even from my saved email. How do they do that?) Her URL says “Don’t pay for white teeth.” I look again at one of her early tweets: “one of my friend has some nice information……check it out at (url).” This was followed by “so many people liked this site, did u see it? if no then heres the last chance (url).” The site promotes “Work from Home,” where we learn that, among many other things, it is actually possible to earn money from home just by clicking on links and there is a variation on this theme involving text messages.
And me, a little further down the road? I have decided not to post my well-intended, ever-so-generous and never-to-be finished piece on how to use Twitter. Places like India can teach us folks here in the U.S. a thing or two. Instead, I will eventually send my Twitter lesson via email to a few friends who think they’re “up with it” when it’s plain that they think Twitter is the new form of email. Wow! You gotta worry about friends like this because you never know what they might say that should be private.
Epilogue: Two days before I posted this, our simple village girl tweeted, “Why do every twit has only 140 characters in it?” Boy, I’ll tell ya, there’s a sucker born every minute!