Monday, December 21, 2009

MyTwitFaceFriend: Thoughts on social networking with a slight focus on Twitter

Oh the world of social networks. First was Friendster who was mimicked and mastered by MySpace, who was followed by Facebook which took us into Twitter. Everyone has something to say. Everyone feels important. Everyone self-promotes. Now, I realize the inevitable irony of posting this on a blog, which I will most likely hyperlink on my Twitter page and maybe Facebook (if the mood's right). Let's move past that. Let's focus on a specific area that most of these hold in common. The status.

Myspace started the early form of a status by giving you a limited amount of space by your profile picture to insert anything on your mind. People used it for good quotes, lyrics, dumb jokes, promotion, or just plain wit. Then Facebook gave us a new vessel and placed our name in front of our status with the word, "is" and then a blank slate to inform the world of our doings. After the reformatting of FB(which also brought about thousands of useless applications which plague my newsfeed to this day), they decided to erase the word "is" and add a seemingly unlimited amount of characters to give people more freedom to post their thoughts ("What's on your mind?"). Then, Twitter came along and mastered the status. It stripped and simplified it to 140 characters or less. A format that would be world renown and celebrities and common-folk alike would join this revolution of information overload.

The 140 characters or less rule is brilliant. it keeps people from going overboard. People need rules. Nothing is more annoying than when you post a tweet in 3 parts. If you feel compelled to write a paragraph, save it for Facebook. Twitter has become a sanctuary for braggers and whiners. But maybe more importantly, it was become a sanctuary to people who posses the word trapped inside of "Twitter". Wit.

Examples (actual tweets): "You know what this guitar needs? Lessons"-(Tony_D)

"I just realized Chewbacca carries a purse"-(unknown)

"It's happened. I've developed real emotions for my iPhone. Actually, its no surprise because i was raised by a TV and a microwave."-(stuartpaap)

This is why the funnest people to follow are those with the one-liners. Mitch Hedberg would have ruled the Twitter-verse with the most followers had he lived to 2006. Stephen Colbert is one of my favorite people to follow because of his amazing commentary. And what list of witty tweeters would be complete without the Twitter celebrity who got a sitcom deal with CBS solely based on his twitter account called "shitmydadsays" which is simply shit that his 70 year old father says, usually conversational. He has rightfully earned 968,568 followers. (Warning: tweets are often senile and inappropriate....and usually hilarious)

Example: "A mule kicked Uncle Bob once. Broke his ribs. He punched it in the face...My point? You have an ingrown fucking toenail. Stop bitching."

I once asked a friend why they didn't have a Twitter account and she said, "I'm just not witty enough." As I was going to try to convince her, I realized I wish more people had her self control. People use Twitter as an outlet to whine to the whole world wide web. Others use it as an overly-detailed narrative of their lives. People post anything. The following is a compiled list of things which I have deemed acceptable to post on Twitter in the order of their importance:

1. Wit
2. Observational Humor
3. Puns
4. Big news (baby, weddings, deaths, ect.)
5. Hyperlinks to other things worth note (use discretion please!)
6. Pictures
7. Updates (use discretion)
8. Condensed Anecdotes (make them be at least somewhat amusing)
9. Quotes (whether inspirational, applicable, humorous. RT count in this category)
10. Replies (sometimes a tweet just asks to be replied. don't go overboard with these)

REMINDER: this list mainly applies to common-folk. Celebrities like Ashton or Shaq, or bands like Coldplay play by very different rules on very different playing-fields. For them Twitter is all about the public relations aspect, less about the heart of it. They are just in it to sell. Let me know if you deem anything else worthy of making it to the list that I missed.

Let's remember that Twitter is a tool to be used to stay connected to those we cannot spend every waking moment with, yet we can carry their words in our pocket hiding inside our cell phones. Above all remember to USE DISCRETION. If people stop following you for no reason, you are probably tweeting too much about nothing. We don't want to hear every little detail about every little thing. Don't waste our web space with mindless jibber-jabber (thanks Mr. T!) that nobody cares to hear just to remind us that you are alive. I am trying my hardest not to sound as bitter as I really am and I myself am not innocent of all the crimes that I have just named. I am just trying to make the internet more enjoyable for all of us. Just because you are having fun posting those tweets, doesn't mean we are having fun reading 'em. Momma used to tell all of us that "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all". I think that if momma was hip enough to even know what Twitter was, she would say, "If you don't have anything worth saying, DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL."

#Twitter #isnt #for #everyone

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Cheer (REVISED FOR 2010)

I hate christmas music. It's obnoxious, cheesy, loud, repetitive, and overkill "jolly". Whether you decide to make up words in order to make your song rhyme with a cutesy Christmas feel (i.e. "O by gosh by golly, its time for mistletoe and holly") or a skanky seductive song to an old man who brings presents, Christmas music is usually my least favorite part of the season. Not to mention the quantity that we receive it in. Every store is playing it (and its usually the same 10 songs everywhere just different versions), everyone is whistling it, and it is stuck in everyone's heads. My friends call me a Grinch or a Scrooge. This is not the case. I love Christmas and most of its traditions. I love baby Jesus. Some Christmas music can get pretty deep and I like that. I just hate singing about jingling bells, I don't care how much they rock. But like every good rule, here are the exceptions to the rule (I made 12 to be more in the holiday spirit [parenthesis inside the parenthesis, the revised version is going to have 13 instead of 12. My true love would not be happy...]):

1.Jason Upton-"Glory To the Newborn King"
An original song thats my favorite Christmas song ever. Great lyrics, lots of truth, and Jason Upton is one of my favorite artists. It helps us brush aside all the junk that has come along with the Christmas season and brought it back to some real meaning. I know that Jesus wasn't really born December 25th so don't bother pointing that out, yet I think that what the season symbolizes is brought back to something bigger than ourselves. The song does a great job of changing from just a pretty song to sing on Christmas to something beyond it. There's a reason why we celebrate His birth, and this song brings it full circle. Here is a free download of it so you can hear it yourself because it's a pretty rare track. He's never technically released it. Just click DOWNLOAD after clicking on the link. Jason Upton - It's You Lord">

2.The Sufjan Stevens Christmas album, "Songs For Christmas" is the best Christmas album around. The way he does the old hymns is awesome. My personal favorite track of it is "Sister Winter". It's pretty epic. Here is a link so you can have a taste of what you are missing. Great build up.

3. Coldplay-This year they released a song called "Christmas Lights" that is quickly becoming a classic Christmas song in my book. I am probably going to be playing this song every Christmas for the rest of my life. Here is the link

They also do a great rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" but it's nowhere near as the greatness they achieved with "Christmas Lights"

4. U2 has two good Christmas tracks. "Baby Please Come Home" and "I Believe in Father Christmas". Neither are originally by them, but they are both great covers and not cheesy.

5. Death Cab For Cutie also does "Baby Please Come Home" on an album called "Maybe This Christmas Tree" that is pretty good. it also has Copeland doing "Do You Hear What I Hear"

6. Dave Matthews' "Christmas Song"

7. Ben Kweller-"Rock of Ages on The O.C. "Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah? Weird place to find a good Christmas song, but it's great nonetheless. Link:

8. On the Elf soundtrack, Zooey Deschanel does the best version of "Baby it's cold outside" I've ever heard.

9. The Fray singing Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is over)"

10. Pedro the Lion's "I heard the bells on Christmas"

11. Sting's recently released "If on a Winter's Night"

12. Rosie Thomas singing "Why can't it be Christmastime all year" is surprisingly good.

13. "Carol of the Bells" is a classic I can get behind.

...and a partridge in a pear tree.

Honorable mention: "O Holy Night" is an excellent song if done right. Good lyrics. It's just gotten butchered over the years by bad rendition after bad rendition. Everyone wants to sing it to try to showcase their singing talent, yet the song is about so much more than that.

There. I have just made your holiday season a lot more enjoyable. Most of these can be found on iTunes, so for a small price you can have the perfect Christmas playlist. Remember, this Christmas drink eggnog, watch "It's a Wonderful Life", love your family, friends, Jesus, and by any means necessary stay away from Celine Dion's Christmas album. Your ears will thank me. Happy Christmas!