Who Gives A Twit?

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At this time last year, I’m not sure I had even heard of Twitter. Now, it is all the rage, and I’m not sure why. I had never used Twitter until I started this site. Bruce Yarbro, my partner in crime who convinced me to get into blog writing and actually set up the site, convinced me that having Tweets along with the site was a MUST. I reluctantly set up an account (oilpressureblog – the name Oilpressure was already taken) and began doing a few tweets.

I’ll admit, that it’s enjoyable to watch the banter between some of the fellow bloggers as well as the drivers. Probably the best thing I get out of Twitter is quick breaking news. It was through Twitter that I first learned of Helio’s acquittal, last April. I’ve learned of all of the driver changes first through Twitter. The two accounts you must follow are Curt Cavin and Trackside Online. They break news through Twitter before they put it on their own websites.

I guess I’m old, but I’m not going to mess with Twitter during a race. I’m certainly not going to type during a race nor do I want to read that someone thinks it’s a good race through lap 150. I know it is. I’m watching it. I did a couple of “Twitpics” on Race Day morning from Indy but there was no way I was going to tap out tweets on my i-Phone during the race.

But besides the few tidbits of breaking news or the links to someone’s latest blog post (which is what I do), Twitter is full of endless minutia that no one could possibly care about. For example; Graham Rahal tweets that he is “…cooking out with the fam tonight”. Or Marco is eating at his favorite restaurant in Philly. Tomas Scheckter always has to tweet something about how wonderful Mona Vie is. Danica Patrick has to let us know that she is cooking pasta and what kind of wine she is serving.

Tony Kanaan is one of my favorite drivers, but to follow his tweets make him sound like the dullest person on earth. I now know when he goes to bed (early), when he wakes up (early), whenever he goes to the gym (daily), what he eats (health food), when he endures layovers at the airport and how often he talks to his son. He includes a lot of Twitpics of his son, which are a nice touch — but seeing as how my kids are almost grown, I can only look at so many baby pictures these days. To double the misery, Kanaan is also bi-lingual with his tweets. He does one in English, then immediately follows with the same one in Portuguese.

Jimmy Vasser, on the other hand, puts up Twitpics of blonde babes in his Las Vegas pool. I can look at these longer than the baby pics. Paul Tracy usually has some fairly colorful tweets, but seldom do they have anything to do with racing. Scott Dixon is the most boring because he has a publicist doing his. Helio has an account but rarely uses it.

Again, getting back to my advanced age…I really just don’t get it. Why is this such the rage? I just don’t know. It’s sometimes amusing and useful when news is involved, but I can’t imagine using this among friends on an hourly basis. Does anyone really care that I’m eating a sandwich? Why would anyone in their right mind stop in the morning to tweet that they’re leaving for work? Who cares?

It falls under the same category as texting. Yes, texting has its place. I get two hundred text messages a month with my plan and I think I average about thirty a month with about twenty-eight of those being between me and my nineteen year-old son. One year we were in the garage area at the Nashville race. One of his friends had been wearing out his thumbs texting back and forth all afternoon. I finally asked him why doesn’t he just call and talk to them. His response was that he didn’t want to talk to anyone.

I’ll briefly get on my soapbox. The dumbing-down of our society continues. Grammar and punctuation no longer matter. We have raised a generation that doesn’t know how to interact with each other. All communication now takes place with us hidden behind keyboards. I see professional business letters today written by twenty-somethings that resemble something a third-grader might write. I have actually seen cover letters for resumes that contain slang resembling text-speech. It is so much a part of the young generation’s vocabulary that they don’t realize when they use it. It’s scary.

Last Friday, I saw in the paper (yes, I still read newspapers) where Twitter had been down for three hours the day before. The paper quoted several young adults as saying that they were going through withdrawal. One grown man was quoted the he “…felt cut off from the world”. Please.

One day a week, I try to push away from the computer and cell phone completely. You need to do that to re-engage the world. We have grown so dependent on these devices for communication that even those of us who grew up playing ball in the backyard, have let our basic communication skills drop.

But I’ll now step off of my “old-man” soapbox and refrain from complaining any further about the ills of the upcoming generation. Maybe as I grow more accustomed to it, I’ll figure out more profound ways to utilize Twitter other than to announce my latest blog subject. I have only forty-four followers. At one time I had as many as seventy-two, but I guess they got bored. I don’t blame them. My tweets are only about two a day and not very riveting, at that. Maybe I can learn to make them more exciting, but I’ll have to learn to do it in 140 characters or less.

George Phillips

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11 Responses to “Who Gives A Twit?”

  1. George,

    I think you have a real ego problem. How are you ever going to be able to overinflate your sense of self worth and importance if you don’t continually engage in pumping out these self esteem building supplements into the media cloud that is “George – the Oilpressure guy”. For god’s sake, George what about the sponsors? Are you doing your best to represent for them in this current economy where every sponsor is gold. And Finally, George – the goupies want to know. They want to know what you eat, how long it takes you to pick out a pair of underwear in the morning. They want, no NEED, to know so that they can feel engaged with your your life at a very personal level. They love you George, they want to know that you love them back.

  2. Y’see, this is why I (thankfully) skipped the twitter buzz.

  3. BangorJim Says:

    Spot on – George! My feelings exactly.

  4. I always thought it would be great for letting people know what’s going on in a quick way, like someone’s in childbirth and you want friends/relatives updated on how it’s going.

    I do occasionally tweet a commentary during a race with a friend. It’s a step away from laying across beds chatting on our princess phones like 15-year-olds. A little bit, anyway.

    Other than that, I think it’s basically worthless.

  5. @ James O

    Is that an official admission? :)

  6. Apparently you missed TK’s pictures from the Indiana State Fair last night – hilarious…do yourself a favor and check them out – he is crazy! Having drivers with awesome personalities is part of why I love the IRL!!! I wish more drivers were on Twitter – although yes, the majority of them who Twitter are kind of lame…

  7. tim nothhelfer Says:

    I suppose twitter is important to those who would be stalking but have other responsibilities…..or for people who need to stay aware at a comfortable distance….PLEASE: NO TOUCHING!

  8. In some sense using Twitter during the race is like watching it with a larger group of friends in your home or at the track. You comment about the race to each other. It can be sort of like your own personal news ticker — bringing headlines from you friends. Some are crap, but some are interesting. A lot of things in racing come to my attention via twitter, including this very entry on this very blog. I saw the link on Twitter and decided to check it out.

  9. jerrycruz Says:

    George, I like Facebook, Playstation 3, computers, iPod, HD TV, but for certain I don’t have, or will, have Twitter until someone really makes me believe is not a complete waste of time. People are losing personal touch with others, myself included as I keep connected on the internet and other technological stuff. Keep up the good work!

  10. [...] I am right – although I tend to disagree with that assessment. The point is; when I wrote this post a little over two years ago about how pointless I thought Twitter was – I was [...]

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