On Being A Twit

[ Posted Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 – 16:59 UTC ]

There are big subjects which I should be writing about today. The abortion battle within the Democratic Party, for instance. What Obama is going to announce about our troop commitment in Afghanistan. And, believe it or not, David Hasselhoff's contribution to freedom.

But I'm going to forgo all of that today, and offer up instead what is really just an extended Program Note. In proper less-than-140-character style, here it is:

ChrisWeigant is now on Twitter. Check it out:

Yes, I have been convinced (by those younger than myself, I should mention) that it is time to join this social networking craze all the kids are into. I wrote about considering this decision a few months ago, and the reaction was fairly good from my readers, so I have now crossed the digital Rubicon and you can follow me on Twitter. I still refuse to even consider Facebook or any of the rest of them, since I have my own presence on the web, right here at Which takes up enough of my time as it is.

I should also mention that I'm going to be a Twit on my own terms. I still am largely ignorant of all the Twitter conventions and etiquette (What do you do about punctuation? Leave it in? Strip it out? But one of many questions which occur while Twitting.), and will likely remain so for a while. Likewise, I refuse to use the correct terminology, and promise to you, dear reader, that the only time I will ever use the word "Tweet" in a sentence is right here in this very one you are now reading. Hope you enjoyed reading that, because it will be the last time you do here. And I have to say, the icons and logos on the Twitter site are already annoying me with their saccharine nature.

Furthermore, I will make a promise which basically defeats the whole purpose of Twitter in the first place: I will never post any Twits other than notices that a column has been posted here. So readers should not in any way feel obligated to follow me on Twitter, because you won't get anything more there than you'll already get here. My Twitter usage will be solely as a glorified RSS feed, in other words, to notify those who are interested that new columns have appeared.

The only time I can conceive of breaking this rule is if I am attending some event -- a political or blogger convention, perhaps -- where I feel like broadcasting my whereabouts to the general public ("Blowing off keynote, join me at O'Leary's Pub for a beer instead," for example). Since such information is only of use to others attending the same event, once again, readers should feel confident that they're not missing anything by not signing up to follow me on Twitter.

I will answer no personal messages sent to me on Twitter. I simply haven't got the time, what with everything else I do on the computer, sorry about that. I may read them, but you'll never get a response.

I am not now following anyone else. I may decide to do this in the future, if it turns out to be handy, but I am making no promises. I am leaning toward following no one, in true democratic style, because that way nobody will feel left out (or, perhaps, "everybody will feel left out" -- either way, it's nice and non-discriminatory). But I reserve the right to change my mind on this one later.

So, let's review. Maybe I can fit this into 140 characters (a skill I obviously need lots of practice with):

Column notices only. No personal non-event Twittings. No response to others' Twits. No following, for now.

All that, and 31 characters to spare! OK, I think I'm getting the hang of this.

I may experiment with the format of my Twittings, but for now, I'm thinking of a simple notice of new column, followed by a link to the column in tinyurl format, followed by as much of the title of the article as fits (long titles will be truncated). Today's Twit, for example, will be:

New column up. "On Being A Twit"

Now that I think of it, I should probably use some shorthand on Fridays. Instead of "Friday Talking Points [101]" I should probably just use "FTP [101]" to save space.

And that first bit could be shortened too, I guess. Being new to all this, I don't know if someone else has come up with a handy acronym for "New column up" or "check out my new blog post" or whatever. NCU? Anyone with a better idea of coining a short and handy acronym, let me know in the comments. But don't bother Twitting it, as I'll see it first here, and may actually answer.

As always, if you want to guarantee I'll read something you've written, the absolute best way is to post it as a comment here. The second-best way is to post it at Huffington Post. And if you want to send me something in private that others can't read (all such communications are held in the strictest of confidence, always), you can use the Email Chris link here to send me an email.

I am sorry if any of this disappoints the true Twitterhead, who may have been expecting a running commentary on my day, complete with what I had for breakfast. My response to this type of Twit shall remain: "None of your damn business!" As you can see, I am not exactly going gracefully into that Twittering night. I am raging, raging against the dying of... something or another... sorry, seem to be running out of characters. And I'm not exactly begging everyone to follow me as a Twit, which I know I am supposed to do at this point. If you want updates on posted columns and are already on Twitter, then feel free. But otherwise, I wouldn't bother.

Because I'm starting to repeat myself here (the luxury of unlimited character usage, no doubt), I will end with the story of how David Hasselhoff could be said to have contributed to the Berlin Wall coming down, just for the heck of it. Now, Hasselhoff has had a rather bizarre career arc, going from television actor to singer to judging others' singing (I have to say, I laughed when I saw a photo of him on American Idol wearing a T-shirt that said "Don't Hassel The Hoff"). And American comedians have made much fun -- for the past two decades -- about how popular Hasselhoff's music was in Germany. But there's a reason for that.

I heard Hasselhoff himself tell the story on some chat show or another. There's a sort of version of it up on the Huffington Post as well. Basically, Hasselhoff was in the right place at the right time with the right song. Because in 1989, Hasselhoff had released a song titled "Looking For Freedom." It's actually not even all that appropriate a song, since it is about a rich man's son looking for freedom away from what money can buy -- not exactly pro-capitalism, and not even political in nature.

But the Germans latched onto it as a sort of anthem for the movement which brought down The Wall. This moved the song to the top of the charts in Germany. And, ever since, the Germans have deep and fond memories of this song because it reminds them of much, much more than Hasselhoff ever even tried to put into the lyrics.

So I end my column on Twits with hearty congratulations to David Hasselhoff for being in the right place at the right time to give people a rallying cry for freedom. [Whoops! 25 characters too many....]


-- Chris Weigant

NEW! Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


5 Comments on “On Being A Twit”

  1. [1] 
    kevinem2 wrote:


    When I saw the title of today's piece, I'd hoped it would be an analysis (in your polite, non-profane manner) of your over abundant Reich-wing twits..Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and Hannity etc. I'm so disappointed it's only about Twitter. When I first heard about the concept, I thought it over for a minute and decided that it was a waste of time...the character limit ensured there would never be anything I'd find remotely interesting on it. I'm glad you're planning to minimize your use of it. I'll stick to emails and excellent blogs like yours.


  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I don't understand twitter or any of the others but anything that shines a spotlight on this wonderful place is a very good thing, indeed.

    And, it's reassuring to know that you will never, ever be a Twitterhead!

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ...or a twit, for that matter. :-)

  4. [4] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Chris, leave room at the end for the #p2 hashtag. That's the one and only bit of unsolicited Twitter advice I'm giving you. Any further questions, you'll have to Tweet them at me.

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Kevin -

    Shades of the old Monty Python sketch with the obstacle course for upper class twits... heh heh.

    Osborne -

    What's #p2 signify? I understand hashtags (the concept at any rate), but haven't heard of this one. Do tell!

    Oh, and I meant to say earlier in the week, that was a hilarious song you wrote for DeVore out here in CA (as a comment to someone's HuffPost article, I forget which...). Post a link to that comment here, if you can find one, it's worth it!



Comments for this article are closed.