It’s okay that Tom Brokaw doesn’t get Twitter

Today, I read that Tom Brokaw said he didn’t get Twitter.

That’s okay. Neither do I.

Sure, I have the Twitter username @R and I’ve posted 9,569 tweets. And, yes, I probably did register before most people did.

But I still believe, as I did three years ago when I wrote what has become one of this blogs most visited posts, “You’ll never understand Twitter, so just stop trying.”

My point then, and now, is this: Just use Twitter. And even if you do get Twitter, don’t confuse that with thinking the way you get Twitter, is necessarily the way other people should get Twitter.

If you want to get it, here is about all there is to it:

1. You use Twitter to send little text messages out to the world, so they can be read by anyone who wants to read them. “Getting Twitter” has nothing to do with why you’d want to send out such messages, or who would care to read them: Those are pragmatic, creative, or existential concerns that have nothing to do with Twitter. Twitter is just the conduit for your message.

2. You can also use Twitter to send little text messages to a private group of people — a group comprised of people you approve to join — so that no one but those people can read them.

3. You use Twitter to subscribe to (called “follow”) just the messages sent out by the individuals or groups or churches or schools or companies you want.

Three years ago, I said Twitter is for letting people know you are eating a sandwich or letting people know that a gunman is roaming your university campus.

Twitter doesn’t care if what you do with it is silly or life-saving.

Today, Nancy Pelosi used Twitter to tell the world she is running for House Minority Leader. She didn’t first go out in front of a big bank of microphones to tell “the media” and the TV cameras.

First, she just tweeted it.

I don’t know exactly what that means, politically speaking.

But I do know what it means when “the sources” start announcing things like this on Twitter first.

I means that if you want to be a future Tom Brokaw, if the future actually needs Tom Brokaws, then you may not get Twitter, but you’d better start using it.