When I first saw the NYT’s article, Twiter’s New Handshake, I was excited! Finally, culture insights into how/why the twitter hashtag is moving mainstream, yes! Then I started reading.
While the article does a good job of recording the hashtag phenomenon and explains to twitter newbies why they should be using the hashtag on and off twitter (because it makes you look like a twitter-savvy type person & thus cool), I was left feeling a bit disappointed by the article. It didn’t have any new insights as I was hoping and I got the feeling that it was written by someone whose not really into Twitter or doesn’t really “get it”. (A bit of digging reveled that Ashely Parker, the author of the article, does have a twitter account & her bio states “I remain skeptical about Twitter.” Which solves that mystery.)
But the articled did get me thinking – is everyone on twitter a #douchebag? Because I am starting to get the feeling that everyone seems to think so.
Is everyone on Twitter a douchebag?
According to Urban Dictionary a douchebag is :
“An individual who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intellegence*, behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic he appears.”*spelling mistake is from actual Urban Dictionary definition.
Or if you would prefer a visual example, these guy:
Based upon the three pillars of douchedom, to an average person who happened upon a twitter stream, it would appear that everyone on twitter is indeed a douchebag:
1) Over-inflated sense of self worth – We tweet what we eat, we tweet where we are, we tweet the funny thought or inside joke we had. And while people like seeing these types of tweets from celebrities or semi-famous people or people they actually know, it doesn’t make sense to none-twitter users. Why would you tweet about something that you would never say face to face? Why would you think your lunch is so fascinating that the whole internet needs to know? Clearly everyone on Twitter is self-absorbed and has an over-inflated sense of importance. Admit it you’ve thought this yourself sometimes.
2) Low level of intelligence – We use short hand & bad grammar. With 140 characters to work with, shorthand on twitter is common. It’s even become acceptable amongst professionals to use short hand on twitter. Things like “u” or “ppl” or “2” is perfectly acceptable as long as you are trying to fit your thought into the 140 characters but I can see from my own twitter feed that it is used sparingly. Too much short hand on twitter makes you sound like a 12-year-old Justin Beiber Fan, rather than the hip & cool social media guru you are trying to become.
3) Behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic we appear. Combination of the two above and the public and permanent nature of tweets. Everyone has made a mistake on twitter – a spelling mistake, hitting send before your tweet is done or tweeting on the wrong account, but most people are conscious of the very public nature of twitter and work hard at being interesting, or at least not offensive. But, someone people do not seem to share that concern as can be seen by the as can be seen by these tweets (also includes stories of people who actually did get fired over their tweets).
So, are we all #douchebags?
No, we are not. I don’t even think we are all that self-absorbed “me, me” bunch that some people make us out to be. We’re just talkers and sharers, and before the age of the internet, you would have found us at the water cooler discussing the new interesting thing we read or heard about.
And really, the very task of questioning your douchelevel removes you from that category, as douchebags don’t question their douchelevel.
But, yes there are douchebags on twitter.