As a nigh-obsessed daily user of Twitter, I’ve inevitably encountered certain aspects of the site that have troubled and irritated my tweet-aholic self. I’ve been using its services for over two years now. I’ve watched it grow, develop, change over time and meet its peak of popularity, all while I’ve been updating my 2,000+ followers on the filling of the sandwich I’m currently eating (cheese and ham are particular favourites of mine). But along with increased popularity and system developments naturally come things that bug and aggravate its loyal users. So, here are the top ten most troublesome things about that social networking site we love and adore oh so much. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a yummy sandwich to tweet about as I consume its cheesy deliciousness. Omnomnom.
10. Location Tweets
There’s always a risk with Twitter that you’re giving away too much information about the goings-on of your personal life. As you tweet about your everyday activities, you’re publicly posting details about what you are doing and where you are doing it, information which may catch the attention of some rather creepy individuals (read: stalkers). But some people very much exacerbate this ever-present risk by actually posting the exact coordinates of their exact location. Yes, some sites such as Foursquare allow users to post their precise position on planet Earth for all their Twitter followers to see on a miniature Google map. I’ve even seen some celebrities do this. Don’t worry, man, I’m sure your psychotic stalkers aren’t signed into their accounts right now; they won’t see the street address you’re currently sitting in on your unsuspecting, defenceless lonesome.
9. Trending Topic Wars
The trending topics are one of the most unique things about Twitter; as they sit at the side of your homepage you get to see the top ten topics or keywords that the general public are currently conversing about. And what with the site’s fair share of crazy fangirls (see further down the list), their little dedications to their most favourite band ever can sometimes sway onto this sacred index (#LadyGagaRocks, #JustinBieberIsTheBestEver, etc.). Whenever this happens, fans of a rival band usually react by trying to fight back with their own dedications, resulting in a list of trending topics that read as one unnecessary argument between squealing tweenagers who can’t accept or understand that another band has dedicated fans as well. Wait, what do you mean you love Justin Bieber? But I love The Jonas Brothers! Fuck you, bitch!
8. Timeline Arguments
These arguments may not be as public as trending topic wars, but for those who follow the two or more argumentative folk it can be a source of either side-splitting hilarity or hair-tearing distress. Arguments between ill-tempered tweeters typically consist of overuse of the caps lock (to give the sense that one is yelling), exclamation points (to enhance this sense of yelling) and frequent typos due to the rage-fuelled speed at which the opponents are typing. It could be an argument about political opinions, religious beliefs or favourite flavour of doughnut icing, but having these flood your timeline can be beyond irritating. Also, if you yourself are involved in an internet clash it can be bothersome that you can’t simply shout in your opponent’s ear or give them a punch to the face; using your brain to argue your opinion is far too much work for today’s generation.
7. Follow Friday
Follow Friday seems to have been around ever since Twitter displayed its first ever tweet, and it sadly shows no signs of going away. It’s essentially a weekly recommendation of your tweeting friends; you tag the tweet #FollowFriday or #FF and then list your favourite users whom you advise others should follow. The general idea is that those who see the tweet should follow all of these people based solely on your suggestion, but I honestly don’t think there’s a single person on Twitter who has ever done this in the history of the popular event. From my own observation, it’s used more to show how kind you are that you included so-and-so in your pointless little list, and you get a thank you and you’re best buds 4eva. Bleurgh. I much prefer Murder Monday and Throttle Thursday; much more fun.
6. Tweet Rants
We all know that Twitter is a place for you to express yourself, but there are some people who really need to control their methods of expression. A few very opinionated individuals — who may have recently been wronged, or are simply incredibly opinionated — take to Twitter to vent their frustrations and thoughts in relation to a specific topic. And due to the 140-character limitation (see further down the list), these angry rants can take up several pages of a person’s profile, and in turn clog up your timeline with tweet after tweet of cocksure belief after cocksure belief. Okay, Steve’s an asshole, we get it, now calm down; you might make me miss what kind of topping @aplusk has on his pizza (yes, people tweet about food a lot). Get a blog!
5. Hashtag Overuse
It’s a common practice for tweeters to tag their tweets with popular hashtags; it’s another special thing that’s unique about the site. You look over at the trending topics, see some stuff about some newsworthy event or Justin Bieber, then see #5WordsAfterSex and decide to type in your own suggestions. “How much do I pay?” could be one. “Oh no, where’s the condom?” could be another. Next thing you know, you’re tweeting at a hundred miles an hour with a gazillion rib-tickling additions to this hashtag vomited out from your account. You look over at your follower count. You’ve lost 24 followers. “Why’s that?” you query yourself. Because you’re exasperating, that’s why.
4. The 140-Character Limitation
I have an on/off relationship with the character limitation of Twitter updates. On the one hand, I understand that limiting tweets to 140 characters means timelines are not filled with lengthy blog posts; it keeps them from being a convoluted clutter. But on the other hand, it can also be infuriating when trying to fit everything you want to say into one unbroken tweet without having to continue your message in another tweet. When attempting to do this, you reduce your words into punctuationless, grammatically incoherent text lingo that not only makes you appear illiterate, but can also render your words as understandable as a bunch of random Egyptian hieroglyphs scribbled onto a shred of toilet paper. It can b v tedious & timeconsuming 4 u 2 hav 2 do. Srsly.
Spammers run afoul in every corner of the internet, from obnoxious pop-up pages containing scantily clad ladies to anonymous e-mails offering you penile enhancements (how do they know?!?). But on Twitter, they’re fucking everywhere, hunting you down and sending you nonsensical tweets with a mysterious URL link stamped on the end. And what happens if you accidentally click on this mysterious link? That’s right, you get an irremovable virus unexpectedly uploaded onto your computer system. Twitter’s retaliation was that you can now report suspected spam accounts for their spammy spam ways, but doing that is like throwing a stick at a single soldier out of the army that’s angrily stampeding towards you. Wait, what’s this? I can watch the Kim Kardashian sex tape if I click on this link? Well, don’t mind if I do…
There are some fangirls who are very rational, very nice people who understand that others may not like their beloved celebrity or band or movie as much as they heartily do. Sadly, it seems it’s the other 99% of fangirls who run amok through the corridors of Twitter, freaking out and stamping their official NKOTB sneakers at the slightest hint of negativity towards Ashton Kutcher or Justin Bieber or the “Twilight” saga. Fangirls typically take the form of insecure teenagers or middle-aged loners whose manic timelines consist entirely of tweets about one specific pop culture topic or icon. They are irksome little shits who have grabbed hold of the current mainstream fad that they are deluded into thinking will last until the day they die. Attempt to argue with them, and you’ll be met with allegations that you are jealous and that you’re just a hater. They’re obsessed, they’re disturbing, they’re mind-boggling, but most of all, they’re annoying. Approach with caution; they’ve been known to throw crayons.
1. Tweeters Who Tweet About Everything
The question “what’s happening?” is imprinted atop the update box of everyone’s Twitter page. And if someone asks you a question, it’s polite for you to answer it. But some tweeps, presumably hobbled with an abnormally short attention span, answer this question on a far too regular basis, alerting their followers about every thought, every opinion, every observation and every action that they think and do in their daily lives. They believe that their sights and musings must all forever be part of internet history, as if they will be looked back on by future generations for research into our era (how worrying). Within the first day of signing up to the site, they’ve hit a couple hundred updates, their “tweet” button bloodied and bruised, their fingertips worn away from bashing away at their smashed-up keyboards all day long. Supposedly necessary updates such as “that man looked at me funny” and “just saw a cow peeing in a field” are hurled onto the system for all to read with morbid curiosity. It’s a shock that “inhaling oxygen” and “exhaling carbon dioxide” are not splattered across their timelines as well.
Honourable mentions: Having to read updates from people who can’t tell the difference between “your” and “you’re.” Also, tweeps who constantly retweet supposedly interesting or meaningful opinions or quotes from those they follow. Y’know, there’s a reason I don’t follow the person you’re retweeting.
By Stephen Watson