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Thursday, December 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 16.0° F  Fair
The Daily
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Tell All: Twits on Twitter
Help! My friends are deluging me with banality!

Dear Tell All: For years, friends have been urging me to join them on Twitter. "Come on, it will be fun," they said. "Join the party!" After holding out as long as I could, I signed up and began "following" my friends and family members. I've been shocked by what I've seen.

Let's start with the short bios people write for themselves. I can't believe how cutesy or pompous most of them are -- even the ones written by people I respect. I guess I should say "people I used to respect." Here are some examples, edited a bit to mask the writers' identities.

  • "Adventurer, smartypants, storyteller. Loving my life, living it to the fullest."
  • "Cheesecake fanatic. Amused by irony. Adore steak, hate arugula."
  • "Wanderer, blogger, speaker of truth to power."
  • "Superhero in the making."
  • "Missionary of the exquisite. Highly motivated and easily aroused."

Help, I'm gagging over this idiocy! Then there are the tweets themselves. You wouldn't believe how much I've learned about what people have just eaten, or are about to eat. My brain has been rotted by innumerable banal observations about current events. The most painful tweets are those that shoot for ironic humor and fail miserably. (See bios above.)

Once upon a time, only professionals had access to mass media. Twitter is an opportunity for everyone to be a published writer -- and it just makes me long for the good old days of the professionals.

New Yorker Subscriber

Dear New Yorker Subscriber: You can continue living in the 20th century if you like, but it's going to get pretty lonely back there. I hate to tell you this, but your beloved New Yorker has a Twitter account, with almost three million followers. And its tweets are packed with pleasure.

I'll grant you that there's a fair amount of nonsense on Twitter. But there's a fair amount of nonsense everywhere, and always has been. As ever, you just have to sift through it. Create a Twitter list for the good stuff and ignore your friends' reports on lunch. #LightenUpDude.

Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or email

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