One of the most universally frustrating and equally liberating characteristics about Twitter is that it's wholly unstructured and undefined. No rules, no guidelines, no instructions.
When you sign up, you get suggestions at best, and vast white space at worst. You know, it's kinda like college - it is what you make of it. Read any handbook; the campus is your oyster! Join a big ol' fraternity, set the university animal testing laboratories ablaze, protest the addition of a new cafeteria to the honors dormitories! You are a free radical! Now look yearningly into the camera while clutching your rucksack to your bosoms.
But, like college, while there aren't any detailed specs or codes of conduct (that anyone actually follows, anyway), there are activities in which you are simply encouraged not to engage. Dos and don'ts, shoulds and shouldn'ts, if you will. Such as, you know, no hot tub fellatio at the Theta Chi social while your sorority sisters are present. Or a Power Hour with Jaeger shots is never a good move. You shouldn't subsist on ramen noodles and Goldfish alone. And there's no nutritional value in ejaculate, no matter what he says.
The same sort of logic applies to Twitter. There are subjects on which you should never converse, in any way, shape, or form, barring a natural disaster or life-threatening emergency. And if you're going to be a contributing member of the Twitterverse, you need to be aware of them:
- The Weather: It's cold. It's hot. It's raining. It's windy. It's perfect. What else is there in our fair city? There isn't. So don't. The lone exception here is when it's snowing. 'Cause, dude, c'mon. Snow in Houston? Okay, that's worth tweeting about.
- Your Bowel Movements: If you can't figure this out for yourself, we can't help you. And it doesn't even need to be stated that TwitPic is entirely out of the question.
- Your Sex Life: Tweets about your sex life beg the question, "What is your objective?" Do you wish to enrage those having less coitus than you? Do you wish to shift eyes uncomfortably when you and your booty call enter a room? Leave the dirty dirty between the sheets, kiddos.
- Your Menstrual Cycle: 'Cause it's bloody nasty, that's why. Yeah, we went there.
- Twitter: When you can't login, no one can login. THAT IS OBVIOUS. No, it's not meta when you whine about the Fail Whale. WE ALL SEE IT. Unless you're Ev, drop it like it's not.
- Children and/or Pets: Now, before you get your cloth diapers and retractable leashes in a knot, hear us out. When your kid says, "Fuck!" for the first time or your puppy discovers its tail, yes, those occasions are tweetworthy. Hate to break it to you, moms and pops out there, but animals are way better tweet fodder than kids. As a rule, if it's not remarkable by non-parental, non-animal-lovin' standards, spare us.
- Your Depression and/or Mental Issues: Your Twitter followers aren't free psychologists. They will take pity on you from time to time, but you'll never find virtual Prozac via tweets.
- Your Meals: No one cares what you had for lunch, it's true. Or breakfast. Or dinner. Or a midnight snack. Foodies comprise their own society; let 'em piss and don't follow their lead.
- Exercise: You ran 1,000 miles in a hurricane with a broken knee. Yawn. Seriously, you're so amazing. Do you want a cookie? Quit making everyone feel guilty already, overachieving non-fat bastard.
- Exclusively Unoriginal Thoughts: Otherwise known as the retweet, ahem. At least pretend you're interesting enough to dump 140 characters into the Internet wasteland, yo.