I never really understood the addictive quality of video games. My son-in-law lights up when I ask about Zelda, and many of my piano students are eager to talk about Mine craft and Pokemon Go. I used to politely listen, not fully engaging in the obviously deep pull that they experienced.
Lately though, I think I understand. For me Twitter is a digital game of sorts. And who can resist the challenge of a game?
In my Twitter feed I find a story, or rather tens of thousands of them, rolled into one continuous conversation, constantly unfolding in real time. These are real people with something to say. When I tweet, I want someone, (anyone) to read it, otherwise, what’s the point really? If they’ve read it and either like it or agree with it or even more fun, disagree with it, then if I’m real lucky they will either comment or like or retweet it. Points for any of those, right? If they follow me? More points! The ultimate goal of the game, as I understand it from my admiration of those who have gotten there, is to be at the top, ie. to have more followers than anyone else. Since that has proven difficult and even improbable, then I want to at least have more followers than I follow. Currently I’m at a one to two ratio (followers to followed), but improving. The bird metaphor is telling as birdsong is said to be calls about dominance and territory.
Scrolling down and hearing that little burp as I score another 120 character mini-essay, rant, pithy saying, video link or photo grabs my attention like few other activities. It might be breaking news, or a tip on how to be a better person. It might be a crazy landmine. Perhaps the most enigmatic of all, it might be a tweet whose content has been deemed ‘potentially sensitive’ and censored by Twitter’s Big Brother department. Finding out what these deleted tweets say is another game within the game. Displayed 24/7 on my 5.5 inch screen are heroes, villains, friends, enemies, allies and people who just make trouble. It’s up to me to figure out which are which.
I’m always on the lookout for the one tweet that will change my day, change my world, and I’m always hopeful that I will be the one who writes it.