Saturday, August 01, 2009


I joined Twitter three months ago now, as I noted in a blog post about it at the time. Predictably, my thoughts and feelings about the service have evolved rather rapidly.

I am currently following 17 people (though that's in flux every day as I work out who I think really adds value to my reading time), and I am followed by 174. I have done 362 tweets so far.

Many of them are pretty bland, e.g., tournament status updates when I'm playing online. (These, I'm afraid, sometimes take on a tone of whining that I try to avoid in blog posts. The immediacy comes through before I censor myself. For example, this recent one: "I now officially suck at every variant of poker, live and online, cash and tournament. I probably even suck at some forms not yet invented.") Many of them are kind of pointless but entertaining (well, to me, anyway), often snarky, conversations among a small circle of my friends. Some are just statements about where I'm playing on a given day, or a quick note about a big hand I just played. (I don't always post those. Some days I feel like just being quiet and/or left alone.)

But I have found that emerging from the primordial ooze are two favorites types of messages. (Dare I be so grand as to call them genres?)

The first is the pokery observation that occurs to me, usually while playing, that probably wouldn't befit a full blog post, even if it happened to still be on my mind by the time I got home. For example:

There should be a gaming regulation about poker dealers keeping their ear
hair from getting unruly.

I'm reminded of the gambler's prayer: Lord help me break even--I need the
money. Now only $11 from that goal.

Astute observation of the day: Climbing-out-of-the-hole poker is never fun

Maybe it's just me, but every time somebody bets "eleven," I hear it in a
fake British accent and think of amplifier volume knobs.

The other type that especially pleases me is the story. Compressing an entire story--with a beginning, middle, and ending--into 140 characters is not easy. It's like a whole new art form (using the word "art" loosely there). But I am enjoying the challenge. I don't claim that these are pearls to be preserved for the ages, but I find it strangely satisfying to come up with such a composition that can stand all by itself. (Once in a while, it seems impossible to squeeze the tale into 140 characters, and I have to make it a two-parter, as indicated by the ellipses in the following.) For example:
Difficult snack choice at deli: fruit salad or giant cookie? I finally
decide on a compromise: I get both.

People get confused by rake in half-dollar increments. Guy got a Kennedy
half dollar as part of a pot and asked dealer.... "Where's this from?" Smart-ass
dealer said, "Probably Denver."

Chips jammed in table drop. I pull out of infamous fanny pack slender
aluminum rod perfect for job. (Dont ask, long story.)... Woman next to me looks askance and asks, "Who are you--MacGyver?"

At IP. 2 players just prop bet $5 on genre of music I'm playing on MP3. One
said jazz, 1 classical.... Actual answer: Jimmy Buffet. Push.

Maybe I'm taking too much attention away from the game when I notice one of these potential observations or stories and then set about to make the composition of it as good as I can, under the circumstances. On the other hand, one simply can't concentrate fully on the game all the time anyway, so if one is going to be diverting one's attention for a while, it might as well be on something at least marginally fun and constructive.

So far, I find Twitter more enjoyable than I had envisioned at first. Whether it will continue to be, or whether my interest in it will wane over time, remains to be seen. For now, though, if you haven't signed up to follow my small contributions, you might be missing some tiny versions of the sort of content that you presumably like reading here. I don't make any money from the efforts, but it's nice thinking that a bunch of people get a smile from my blog-in-miniature.


Michael said...

Great observations on Twitter. I've been on for about 2 months now, and I enjoy it, although I wonder for how long. I do enjoy it, when I'm travelling and having to eat out by self or some other downtime. Nice quick reading.

Jinx_cleveland on twitter.

Glenn said...

I've been resistant to the Twitter phenomenon as I've been in the "it's just publishing little banal bits of information" camp, but have grown more curious over time. Decided this weekend that the acquisition of a new phone was as good a reason as any to give it a whirl, so I gave it a go. Since I've enjoyed your blogs I decided to follow you, but my jury's still out on Twitter as a whole.

WindBreak247 said...

Like your blog, your Twitter feed is one of my favorites. Always entertaining, and relevant in the sense that I feel like you and I are alike in several ways so your observations appeal to me and are similar to my own. Plus, piddling around here in Central Iowa, I like to live vicariously through your Vegas poker exploits. I hope you don't tire of Twitter anytime soon.

unaha-closp said...

I read fanny pack in an English accent & snigger, your slender aluminum rod perfect for job is LOL. Do have a 12yo's sense of humour.