Some Thoughts on the Twitter…

So, having been awesome at Twitter for a week now I think I’m in a position to make some observations on social media. (That was sarcasm… or irony… I clearly have trouble telling the two apart)

But, I have noticed some interesting things about the people that follow @sarcasticrover, and I think it says a lot about the internet and the greater world in general.

First off, people are generally nice. This is surprising – but in a general population of 75000 people, most of them are really very nice and encouraging. I know that most of the followers of the feed tend to be science-types who might be more kind due to years upon years of getting the crap kicked out of them by jocks – but it’s a broad enough sampling that I feel justified in saying that people are decent. They like when you try to do something fun, they like to engage you, and they’re generally not assholes about it. I think that’s true everywhere else as well… except for Toronto. Kidding.

Secondly, everyone likes to tell a joke. I can’t even tell you how often I get messaged the same jokes over and over again, in endless variations and with differing amounts of enthusiasm – and that’s not even being a jerk, because I like it. But man oh man, people are awesome! They want to share and be a part of what you’re doing – I do jokes, so they send them to me – and they’re funny and fun, pictures, lines, dramatic readings of my words… it’s crazy! I’m floored by the level of interaction and community offered by Twitter and how people will speak to you (or the robot you’re pretending to be) with the openness and familiarity of a friend. It’s like belonging to a great club, and we’re all there to have some fun with science. But mostly, it’s jokes about Curiosity killing cats.

Thirdly, and we’ll make this finally for now, I am just a guy in a suit. What I mean is, people like to talk to the character – but they never talk to the guy. Friends have decided I’m successful on Twitter and I try to explain that the rover is successful, in the same way Barney the Dinosaur was successful, but the guy inside the costume is just a guy. So no one writes to me as if there was a person behind that feed… they just want to talk to the rover, which I kind of love. It’s amazing. In writing we always try to get people to suspend disbelief, but it’s curious to see that it’s actually not hard – the only hard part is having the discipline to not ruin the illusion. Now, I may be ruining that illusion by talking about it – but I think this blog can exist along side and separate from the feed – so hopefully I haven’t f–ked it up too much.

Point is – the people on Twitter are amazing. Supportive, and fun, and clever, and engaging, and just the best. They are a part of a new kind of media – a theatre where everyone is on their own stage, sharing and watching and participating in millions of little dramas and comedies. And that is fascinating to me.

So, thanks to you all for that.

4 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on the Twitter…

  1. Dave says:

    Hay there scarcastic rover,having just read your post i would have to agree with you about the general population of the interweb and the wider world being cool.but sadly we all live in a strange and messed up world where space exploration is constantly cut back year on year then nasa do an other amazing job with one hand tide behind its back.then you coma along this wee plucky rover stuck miles from home with the greatest commentry possable,you and your endevors are truly out of this world keep up the very good my.
    All the best from not so sunny scotland

  2. @Its_me_mars says:

    Dude,,love your wit in your tweets, youve proven to be a twitter and internet phenom! 80k followers in less than a month? Thats insane!!! Congrats on the following. @its_me_Mars

  3. Some serious appreciation for the “guy in a suit”, having just discovered the blog to go along with the Twitter feed: thank you, sir. The blog posts talking about science are informative and accurate, and they are a thoughtful complement to the lighter tone on Twitter. As a professional working in science (astronomy, no less) who cares about how we communicate to the public, I’m thrilled to see how your efforts have taken off. Engaging the public in serious science is often tough, even when people are fundamentally interested (and in the case of space exploration, that’s not too difficult…) Your approach is very smart, and it’s leading followers to ask some great questions about the science behind the humor. We live in an era of declining budgets for basic physical science, as you well know — particularly in the U.S. Coupling entertainment with comments that can spark *actual* Curiosity among your readers is doing the research community a favor, even if it seems like it’s not a big deal. So, once again, thank you: not only for the lolz, but also for promoting the efforts of many thousands of us around the world to “do a science” everyday.

  4. Christine Sieber says:

    U R wonderful,precious,marvelous,sumptuous,prodigal,about the funny part -U did not ignite the percolating merryment in my rusty( by age) disposition & mind. Keep on roaming! Greetings from a kraut-stuffed Nightingale

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