So, this Twitter thing: weird, right? I couldn’t sleep last night, so I went tweet-hopping. Twitter suggested that I might find this one guy interesting, and I recognized the name from a guest post I had read online that actually made sense to me. In retrospect, if I didn’t breeze right past things like introductions on guest posts, I might not be in this predicament. But I did, and I also jumped right into a philosophical debate he was having with someone on Twitter despite never having met either participant. I didn’t realize at the time just how perilous this little blind jump of mine was.
My thought process essentially consisted of: cool! People are talking about philosophy late at night! I used to do this for a (sort of) living! The problem with that reasoning is that, when I used to do this regularly, it was in person, and celebrities very rarely wandered into the bars near my school. Matthew McConaughey once, but he was pretty drunk (and kind of condescending, too), and Dave Matthews once. He was actually pretty cool, though also drunk. It made me feel bad that I don’t like his music. But, you know, I had fair warning then, and also our conversations weren’t broadcast over the entire internet.
So I said my bit, getting more responses from the non-famous person in the debate than the celebrity, but it’s hardly the first time I’ve had a lop-sided philosophy discussion, so that still didn’t tip me off. I eventually got tired and got some sleep, got up, saw a response, tweeted back. I then went on about my day because, you know, I have a life. After several hours I remembered to unplug my headphones from my iPhone, at which point Twitter started chirping at me every few seconds. If Twitter could talk, it would have gone like this:
Twitter: Hey Little Blind Girl! Hey! Over here!
Little Blind Girl: Um, is that you, Twitter?
Twitter: Of course it’s me. Who else would it be, Thomas Jefferson? George Jetson?
Little Blind Girl: Sorry, you just don’t usually have anything to say to me.
Twitter: Yeah, well, I’m here now, and you’ve got about fifty million notifications waiting for you. Would you check ’em, please, because my back’s about to give out from carrying them around. What am I, your messenger service?
Little Blind Girl: Well, sort of…
Twitter: Shut up and check your messages, already. I don’t got all day.
Twitter’s got a ‘tude. Anyway, I checked the messages and they nearly all stemmed from that conversation I jumped into last night. I couldn’t understand why so many people were joining in. Then, when I was looking through Twitter trying to figure it out, I saw a little blue check mark beside the name of Dude Who Started It. When I looked that up, and this is probably common knowledge to everyone else, it turns out that the check mark means that person has been verified as famous, or something along those lines. But, hey, people can be famous for all sorts of reasons, right? So I looked him up…Dude Who Started It is named Mark Pellegrino, and according to IMDb has been in every television show since Howdy Doody. Including one I’ve actually seen, which takes away my excuse that I don’t really watch much television, so how would I know. To be fair, though, the show of his that I’ve seen is Lost, which is nearly impossible to follow even when you watch the episodes in order, which I didn’t, and if I’m being honest I still can’t remember him in it (sorry, Dude. Can’t see the screen). As I type this post I can hear Twitter continuing to chirp menacingly at me: you’ve been mentioned! You’ve been replied to! Thousands of people you don’t know want to tell you exactly how wrong, stupid, and ridiculous you are! Actually, they were fairly nice to me, and it’s interesting to have a vigorous, albeit fairly basic, debate on ethics and epistemology with complete strangers, but it got pretty intense for a while (not to mention difficult to follow). I kind of feel sorry for Dude Who Started It. Being famous must suck.
One of the great comforts of my internet life is that very few people are paying attention. Of course it’s nice to think you’re Being Heard and that you’re Getting Your Message Across, but my message mostly consists of, “Hey, guess what random thought just made me laugh in public for no apparent reason,” which is hardly going to change the world. I like that I can say whatever I think and no one will attack me for it because no one will notice. I think it’s great that other people like to have anonymous Xtreme Twitter Debates, but I prefer to have my philosophy discussions the way Plato tells us we should: while getting plastered with friends.
Unlike Dude Who Started It, I have the luxury of only having to be (not really) famous for fifteen minutes. Soon enough, Twitter will calm down and start ignoring me again and I’ll be able to go back to my own misguided ways without correction from the entire internet, and I’ll continue to share any funny random thoughts I have with those of you who choose to seek me out. Though I’ve never been fully convinced that my followers weren’t all just my mother under various screen names.
Ooh, hey! IMDb says Dude Who Started It was in The Big Lebowski, which I’ve seen at least four times. If only I’d been sober for even one of them….
Edit: I kept tweeting because apparently Twitter is the new crack. I started out the Great Debate of April 2016 by asking the difference between knowledge and wisdom. I ended by concluding that knowledge is the understanding of how Twitter works and wisdom is leaving it the heck alone. Words to live by.