Maybe you do this, too, clicking on TweetDeck (or whatever program) you use many times an hour, such as when a web page doesn’t load instantly or in between (and during) practically every other task you are performing throughout the day. Twitter becomes kind of a constant hum that plays behind everything you do, sometimes getting very noisy and disruptive while other times just providing a kind of mental ambience that may or may not be constructive for you as you try to get other things done.
Something today made me think about different Twitter “styles” and how they resemble the different styles of poker playing. I think such thoughts might have been inspired by the fact that folks seemed especially argumentative on my timeline today (for whatever reason).
Some are obviously “loose” with their tweets, like a player who plays more hands than most, while others are “tight” and only get involved occasionally. And of course, some are “aggressive” in the way they engage others on there while many are “passive” with their comments.
The analogy can be pursued much further, if one wants. Some are clearly there just to have fun, while others perhaps view Twitter more like a job or business -- either literally (e.g., those who are tweeting with the explicit purpose to “monetize”) or in a figurative way (e.g., those who are genuinely trying to “profit” in some way from their interactions over Twitter). In other words, some “play” at Twitter while others “work” at it (or appear to, anyway).
Twitter is also like a poker game insofar as those who “take a seat” do so voluntarily, and in fact could be said (in a way) to have consciously selected the “game” or at least to have chosen the other players by following them. That said, people can retweet others and can introduce lots of other content into your timeline that you haven’t necessarily “chosen” to read or see. But for the most part we are mostly able to manage the “game” somewhat, not having to “play” with those we don’t wish to.
This latter aspect of Twitter makes me reluctant to complain about it -- that is to say, if I find the chatter tedious or wearying or in any way unpleasant, I’ve really only myself to blame as no one forced me to log on to read (or “sit down” and “play”). And besides, the people whose tweets I’m reading I’ve willingly chosen to follow, anyway.
My own Twitter game has become increasingly “tight-passive” over the last year or two, I think. I only occasionally tweet -- I probably average one or two a day -- and usually only to crack jokes, link to new blog posts, or share funny photos from the farm. Perhaps because I became an adult well before social media or even the internet turned into such a big part of our lives, I am mostly hesitant to share much in the way of personal details over Twitter, nor am I that encouraged to engage in even benign conversations about much of anything.
It still seems odd to me to have a “conversation” with someone with a big crowd “watching” -- a lot more odd than playing a hand of poker in front of a table full of others who aren’t in the hand.
In other words, I’m content mostly to fold, only playing once in a while in a very low-risk way. Meanwhile I watch others battle over pots, although lately I’ve started to realize I’m not always enjoying that, either.
I’ve written here before about how I have mostly avoided Facebook entirely, only having had an account over there early on for a short while before deleting it. I’m thinking I might start “sitting out” of Twitter, too, if only just to take a break and see how I like not always having the “game” going.
Taking breaks from poker is often helpful to stay refreshed and keep one’s level of interest and engagement up. Maybe it’s time to do something similar with Twitter. (And no, this ain’t an April Fool’s gag.)