About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Friday, September 28, 2012

Twitting the Twitter

The past few weeks have seen me tweeting more than writing here. One factor would be laziness; I haven't had much motivation to say a lot more than 140 letters at a time. The other one, surprisingly, is the challenge of saying it all in a 140 letter format. The nearest thing that comes to mind would be haiku; the strict limitations mean trying to pack a lot more information in a limited space.

I've also been using twitter to post status updates that I wouldn't want to post in facebook. The number of twitter followers that I do have is a lot more manageable (last count is 29) compared to the number of facebook friends (somewhere around 500), and I'm counting on people having overflowing twitter feeds, so much overflow in fact, that the tweets I do make would be lost in the deluge.

I've learned as a twitter user is that people tend to think that a facebook like is the same as following someone on twitter. I think it's silly to run around trying to gain more twitter followers; if what you say is meaningful and if people do want to know more about what you're thinking, then they will follow you. On the other hand, indiscriminately following people on twitter doesn't do any good because it makes a torrent of tweets that you never get to read.

Still, twitter has many uses aside from posting tweets. It's actually quite fast when it comes to news. If I want to know if classes are suspended, instead of calling the trunk-line of my university, you can count on twitter for fast updates. Or search for a hashtag.  I've enjoyed the snarky tweets on #MuslimRage : "Finding out that the 72 virgins are all males" is my favorite." Or how about the #SavedSex hashtag: "Gigabytes of #savedsex on my hard drive."?

I used to have a pocket diary where the space allotted for each day was so small that only the most important events of the day could be recorded.  When I look at the entries, I could easily see the obsessions I had then (one entry for example,  records the fact that I solved a problem in Feynman and Hibbs' Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals book after almost a month of effort spent.) Rereading my old tweets is almost like rereading that old pocket diary; the tweets hint to me of something more  about that day, and it's good to think back and forward.