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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

A Twitter Is as Twitter Does

So, I have this Twitter account. I mention this not just as a bald-faced shameful bid to attract more followers.

(Though, you know, if you really wanted to check it out, who’s stopping you? Nobody, is who. I’m just saying.

It’s a lot like here, actually. Just today, I tweeted about toenails, scrota and Kathmandu.

Not… uh, together. Obviously.

I’m not really helping myself here, am I?)

Rather, I bring up my Twitter account to show, once again, that I can take any innocent bit of useful technology and turn it into a godawful aggravating clusterfuck. This is because I’m older than the age of thirty, and therefore inherently incapable of successfully configuring, using and remembering the esoteric details of any newfangled tool.

It doesn’t matter that I code for a living. Or that I’ve been using computers since before any person who has ever uttered the word ‘amazeballs’ in conversation was born. You can’t fight functional obsolescence.

Well, you can. But very feebly. Like with the rubber tip of an old cane, maybe.

Anyway, Twitter. I’ve got two gnawing problems with Twitter; neither are actually anything to do with Twitter, and I caused them both. Because I’m an awful person, and not especially all that smart.

I should first explain that the only reason I originally created a Twitter account — maybe three years ago — was to cross-advertise when I post something here. My lone goal was to get the word out on new silliness to a cadre of users on another platform.

Never mind that I didn’t actually follow anyone on Twitter, or manage to get anyone to follow me. Or that my posts here are, generally speaking, about 372 times the length of your average tweet, and therefore likely the last bits of quasi-novella that a Twitter user would want to read.

“My hastily-cobbled acronym for this site looks more like a Swahili word for goat snot than anything remotely meaningful.”

Or far more likely, to smugly post “tl;dr” about.

So, the first thing I did was to set up a thing to automatically tweet whenever a post appears on this site. I say “a thing” because i don’t remember what I set up, exactly, three years ago, or where I found such a thing to set up in the first place. I don’t see that function on Twitter. I can’t find it in my blogging software. And if I ever do figure out how the hell I set it up, I’ve most assuredly forgotten whatever username, password or secret open-sesame incantation that would allow me to rejigger it.

This is fine, of course, if I never need to rejigger it. But sadly, I do. I’ve been actually using Twitter lately — in the way it was intended, for the people who only know Reagan as an airport. And I’ve noticed that the auto-tweets, cleverly prefaced with the perfectly-obvious-to-me-at-the-time code “WTHWI:” are not, in fact, obviously about anything. Or even in English. My hastily-cobbled acronym for this site looks more like a Swahili word for goat snot than anything remotely meaningful.

And I can’t fix it, because I don’t know how the hell I set it up.

I’d love to change it to “Where the Hell Was I?:” or “” or “Brilliant new bit of barely-sane fluff:” But no. I can’t. Because feebleness.

The other bit of awful is very similar, only in this case I have no recollection of ever setting anything up anywhere in the first place. So there’s even less chance of pulling a solution out of my butt any time soon. Or any other convenient orifice, for that matter.

In this nightmare, I get an email, a phone app notification, and a text any time someone favorites or retweets one of my tweets, or mentions me in one of their tweets. For nearly-three years, when all my account was doing was spouting gibberish into the void like “WTHWI OMGWTFBBQ!!!1!eleventy!”, this really wasn’t a problem. Nobody read it. If anyone did read it, they couldn’t understand it. And if they managed to understand it, under no circumstances would they advertise to the rest of the world their association with a raving lunatic. All, as they say, was as it should be.

However. Now that I’m actually manually using Twitter, and saying things that might be mistaken in some circles for English — or even comedy — I do get the occasional bit of notice. And when I do — say, a retweet — a surging cacophany is triggered in my pants, as my phone chirps and buzzes and beeps to life, like R2-D2 beatboxing in a Tatooine jam session. You’ve got mail! You’ve got a text! This app’s telling you something! SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, BABY!!!

Not that I mind the positive reinforcement, mind you; it’s just a little out of proportion. Like getting a lap dance every time you hold an elevator door for someone.

Okay, bad example. Because that would totally be awesome. And I’d never take the stairs again.

The point is, I’d like to do something about the orchestral earthquake going off in my pocket every time someone pays a tiny speck of attention on Twitter. But that would involve negotiating options and settings menus in fourteen different places and accounts and apps, and I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Who has time for that sort of nonsense? At my age, I mean. Seriously.

I guess I’ll just learn to live with the occasional pocket concert, and the gibberish blog post tweets, and maybe get some young whippersnapper one day to help me sort it out. Or to log me into Tumblr or Instaparty or Spunkchat, or whatever it is the kids are into these days. Is Twitter even still a thing? I don’t know. It’s cold in here. Get offa my lawn.

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