Venus & Mars: Tweet Nothings and Other Twitter Tales
Katrin Figge & Tasa Nugraza Barley
A friend once said that most people use Twitter for two reasons: Either for self-promotion or as an outlet to rant. At the time, I didn’t know if I agreed or disagreed simply because I hadn’t signed up for Twitter yet.
My friend had a point, but there’s also more to Twitter than those two things.
I was quite late to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, and only did so because I was told that it is a good source to pick up the latest trends, which could be quite useful for a journalist. This turned out to be true.
And as I started using Twitter more frequently, I eventually came to understand its usefulness for self-promotion (I also retweet my own stories), putting links to interesting stories on the Web, posting funny pictures or sharing thoughts about a new restaurant and the latest episode of “Glee.” But still, I can’t wrap my head around the ranting.
If you are upset and need to cool off, well, stop by a bar, have a drink or two, or listen to some death metal. Don’t go and tell the whole world about it, especially if you are upset about private matters. There are surely other ways to unwind. Do you really need to go public to scorn people or former employers? Oh, please.
Couples having a disagreement also don’t really need to let all of their followers participate in their drama. Or do they? I, for one, would hate to think that something so personal would become general knowledge.
I think that many Twitter users tend to forget just how public this site is. Or maybe they do know, and that’s exactly why they post this stuff in the first place, as a way to get attention.
Either way, Twitter for me is primarily a fun tool, a way to kill the time when I am bored or stuck in traffic, as well as a source of information and news.
What I have noticed since I became a Twitter user is that girls and women often post things when they are feeling unwell.
If someone writes “I have a headache,” I wish her a speedy recovery. But what I really don’t need to know is that you have diarrhea from eating too much spicy food, or worse, that your menstrual cramps this month have been the worst ever.
I’d be much obliged if women would just keep this information to themselves. And if not, well, thank God for that little function that allows me to “unfollow.”
Katrin Figge is deputy features editor at the Jakarta Globe.
Just by looking at the things men and women share on Twitter, you can easily tell how different the two genders can be.
Most men, including myself, use social networking services on the Internet, including Facebook and Twitter. For men, a social network is a place to have fun, find and communicate with old friends or get to know some pretty girls.
We never take the things we say on Twitter very seriously. Besides a place where we can find the latest information on political, economic and social issues, men also use Twitter to share jokes.
Every day my male companions share their silly experiences on Twitter, like finally talking to the beautiful colleague at the office or falling asleep while driving.
The only time men are especially serious on Twitter is when there’s an important football match on TV. But apart from sporting matters, we men think of Twitter as a peaceful place where people of all backgrounds can just have fun and say whatever they want.
Unfortunately, and surprisingly, that’s not the case with women. For some reason I can’t explain, women, at least many of the women I know, tend to take Twitter too seriously, and can often be oversensitive in responding to other people’s posts.
A few days ago, a female friend had a nasty argument with a man on Twitter because she thought his joke was offensive. “You shouldn’t have said that,” she tweeted. Just as they do on Facebook, women express their emotional anger on Twitter, especially when it comes to romantic problems. Somehow women think it’s appropriate to be too sentimental in tweets. I wonder if they are aware everyone can see what they say.
While most men tend to be more reserved, keeping their problems strictly to themselves, women are very open, always thinking it’s important to let others know how they feel, including about how they feel about their cruel, irresponsible boyfriend.
“How could he be so unkind?” my 20-year-old female cousin tweeted about her boyfriend. Within minutes, she was receiving support from her friends, who said things like “A man like that doesn’t deserve your love, girl!” or “He should be ashamed of himself.” Of all the things she could have said, an hour later my cousin wrote, “You’re the best boyfriend in the world, thank God I found you.”
Tasa Nugraza Barley is a features reporter at the Jakarta Globe.