Twitter and the Void

Excerpt from this article:

What kind of sound does a single tweet make? Our writer considers the reasons she left Twitter, and what it would take to bring other lapsed Tweeters back online.

My Twitter account fell silent last April, about six minutes after I had opened the thing. I say “fell silent,” but truly it was not much more than mute to begin with. I followed some folks. Replied to a friend. Something along the lines of, “between you and me…I’m tweeting.” I wasn’t sure what to do with my extra 105 characters. I added, “no promises.”

On Jan. 13, I scrambled, with many, for information. How many casualties among my colleagues in Haiti? What condition Toussaint L’Ouverture airport? How frequent, and how strong, and how long the aftershocks? What the hell is my Twitter ID?

…there are plenty of tweeters whose sudden silence comes without warning. A guy whose handle was “You Look Great,” hailing from “the universe’s loving embra,” posted daily aphorisms of a mildly amusing nature from February until August before slowing. By October it was biweekly. Not too long after “We touch the lives of every person we meet; we can also touch their tushies,” the dude left a million followers without their “daily passive aggressive affirmations.”

I wonder how many people clamored, “where is my ha-ha @You Look Great?” (There are no hashtags at the universe’s embra.)


…Certain hiatuses truly make one pause. Like Jennette’s last tweet in October 2009: “but my apartment is such a mess. I wouldn’t want them finding all that shit in my apartment.”


Or Britney, last tweet, November 2008: “FOR SALE: Parachute. Brand new, used only once. Never opened. Condition: stain on one side.”


Or Kelvin, who in September 2009 posted: “I need some spiritual guideance [sic] right now.”


… When I began writing this column I thought I saw a somber conclusion at its end. I thought I would be asking, how many tweeters does Twitter gain when there is an earthquake in Haiti or Chile? Or when there is unrest in Iran or a music festival (#sxsw)?


I thought I would ask, dramatically, just how lopsided was the Twitter equation—the one that saw the addition of me in the days after Jan. 12 and the subtraction of tiphilippe90 on his way back to school?


I asked on Twitter, is tiphilippe90 gone? And in no time at all, I heard, “nah he just don’t tweet anymore. No mystery.” I just hope I can time my exit with equal panache.