From The Atlantic:
Here’s an illustration of something I understood in principle but have been reminded of in specific.
In the wee hours of last Friday night, I finally finally finally said adieu to a long story that will be in the March issue of the magazine. On Saturday, groggily, after guzzling coffee and doing the crosswords and generally moaning, I decided to turn on the TV. There, on a “mainstream” network (NBC), I saw something I hadn’t expected. It was a soccer — sorry, “football” — match from the English Premier League, Leicester City v. Aston Villa. On the good side, Leicester is the land of some of my forebears. On the bad side, for me, I am just not a soccer/ football fan.
People who have watched Saturday-daytime TV in recent years apparently know that EPL matches are a standard feature. I haven’t, and didn’t. And I made a mistake I won’t make again, putting out a sarcastic tweet .
. . . .
I’d forgotten a reality of the world of Twitter. It’s a different audience, an unknown-by-the-author audience, especially as a message gets passed around. Over the next few hours, outraged responses poured in by the metric ton. All of them were self-righteously outraged about my closed-mindedness, and old-style thinking, and “major fail,” and so on. I have never before received anything close to this volume of response on Twitter, and it has never been more vitriolic. And all of it from people taking obvious (to me) sarcasm right at face value.
Live and learn. I have learned that on Twitter, you cannot assume that you know the audience. In particular, you cannot assume that an audience beyond the one you intend will recognize the difference between sarcasm and sincerity.
Link to the rest at The Atlantic and thanks to Nate for the tip.
PG confesses that he only uses Twitter to send out links to new posts on TPV. It happens automatically with no effort from PG.
Whenever he has gone to see what others have to say on Twitter, he has wished he hadn’t. Writers Digest has a Twitter list of agents. PG checked it out. The experience was short-lived, but nonetheless quite regrettable.
If you examine The Passive Voice’s Twitter presence (@), you will discover that TPV has over 55,000 followers and follows 51,000 Twitter accounts.
Lest you think PG is bloviating out of both sides of his mouth, he will disclose that 2-3 years ago, he signed up for a trial version of software that claimed it would automatically get him lots of followers on Twitter. After the trial was over, he did not buy the software, but he still had 55,000 Twitter followers and was, in turn, following 51,000 Twitter people he didn’t know.
Twitter’s stock price has been in a long decline for the past year. PG wonders if investors figured out that 99% of Twitter traffic is created by software programs.