Allow me to demonstrate, through metaphor, my experience thus far with the microblogging website, Twitter. Imagine Twitter as a giant party you invite yourself to, the partygoers only people you want there. The only gatecrashers are people who quote non-partygoers and singer Britney Spears chowing down on someone's knee.
At first the room in which the party is being held is empty. People who don't 'get' Twitter place celebrities at their party and make a few comments about the room. The celebrities don't talk to them and they leave declaring Twitter, "stupid". I did this myself, at the start. Why I came back I don't know. But I did.
I used the Find User option and added names. Just names. Then I read what these people were saying. Soon, my party had a lot of people. The ones who never talked to me were escorted out. Here's an analogy: There's a room with millions of people, all with their back turned to you. You tap them on the shoulder (hit Follow) and they turn towards you and you can hear what they are saying. They cannot hear you until they tap you on your shoulder. Now you can, potentially, talk with them, have drinks, dance, whatever you like, it's a party.
Soon, many people are tapping your shoulder and the party gets interesting. Sometimes people laugh at what you say, sometimes you laugh. Mostly, though, you connect with people. People you never knew existed.
You can wear a mask at your party or you can dance completely naked. The extremes with which people are willing to share runs the gamut. I have chosen to be myself, generally. The best, wittiest version of myself. Outside of the party you would find me somewhat inhibited, more guarded. But at my party I try to put the lampshade on my head and sing bad karaoke. It helps to take me away from a downward spiralling life.
A few partygoers have touched me deeply. THIS is the surprise of Twitter, to me. I've been involved in social media for 15 years in the form of message boards and Yahoo chatrooms. I even met my ex wife in a chatroom, which should tell you a lot about me. Some of my closest friends are people I've never met, face to face.
I have enjoyed the company of many partygoers. Isn't this why we go to parties? For social interaction? For a good time?
That is to say, not necessarily. Some people come to the party to sell something; a product line, a blog, book, service, or even themselves. Some people only want attention. Slap a star on their forehead and they're happy. And that's all great. Good for them. Sell, sell, sell.
I follow some people like this. But I think most people are at the party to connect with someone. This isn't bad, for, as I stated earlier, the party has millions of potential guests, so there's a lot of potential for reward. I have connected with a few. Some I didn't expect to connect with. Maybe you yourself have been surprised at the level of closeness you have developed for one or another partygoer. You dance well together, in perfect step, to a tune you both enjoy. When he/she talks to you, you know there's something special going on.
But it's just a party. It's not real life. And the partygoers aren't there for you. The music has to stop sometimes and the dancing, the incredible dancing, ends. And it's no one's fault, really. But you need to step outside and take a break. Reevaluate things. Having fun at the party... is it worth it when you can't take the dancer home? And it's sure as hell not fun when you can't dance with her at your own party.
If you think this blog post is about you, you're right. You can read yourself into most things.