COLUMN: My 10,000th tweet

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees.

<em>“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand…”</em>

—Revelation 5:11

Salmon P. Chase served America as a governor, a U.S. Senator, the Secretary of the Treasury under Abraham Lincoln and, most notably, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. It is not without merit that he was chosen to be the man whose face adorns the $10,000 bill.

If you ever should see an object with exactly 10,000 sides to it, you can impress your friends by saying, “Oh! Look! It’s a myriagon!”

Minnesota is known as “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” There are about five days in the middle of July when they are not frozen over.

The Italian word for 10,000 is diecimila.

And regrettably, in 2007 my beloved Philadelphia Phillies became the first sports team in history to lose 10,000 games. Not since two neanderthals threw rocks at each other’s heads millions of years ago to pass the time has any competitive entity been as futile as my beloved Phightins.

Sometime in the next week–possibly later if I am moody and avoid the Internet—I will post my 10,000th tweet. I do not consider this an accomplishment. I just find it hard to believe that I would allow myself to indulge in that form of banality 10,000 times.

It might seem paradoxical for me to consider Facebook to be the greatest social ill in modern American history whilst simultaneously defending the use of Twitter. I often argue the difference between the two is that Twitter can be a great resource for collecting news. You do not have to post on Twitter. You can just read the news sites you follow. If you do not fill Facebook with every personal tidbit from your (not so) fascinating life, it is pretty much an unloaded gun.

The easiest way to defeat my own pro-Twitter argument is by following pseudo-celebrities and, of course, have almost 10,000 tweets to your credit.


I find it hard to defend or apologize for my overuse and obstinate love for Twitter. How can I claim the title of Defender of Intellectualism when I follow TMZ on Twitter? Yes, I do follow the New York Times and various news reporters to gain sustenance. But I also follow the WWE, “Weird” Al Yankovic and the Herald-Journal. None of them can better me as a person.

In case you haven’t picked up on the theme of this column, this is a cry for help.

How the hell did I allow myself to tweet 10,000 times? I can only insult BYU fanatics so many times before it becomes passe. And how do you really get into philosophically stimulating conversations about politics in under 140 characters? Outside of being Sarah Plain, it is dang hard to do.

But maybe that is both the beauty and the horror of Twitter. It allows us to opine in spurts. No need for a long drunken message on Facebook; or those self-absorbed mom bloggers who incessantly talk about how cute their not-cute-kids are.

Nope. Not Twitter. Short, concise barbed witticisms rule that social networking landscape. It takes little effort to join the “10,000 Tweet Club.” All you need is a small dose of denial, a disturbingly maladjusted sense of your place in the world and the fortitude to withstand mocking from people both close and unfamiliar with you.

So if it is an accomplishment to make it to 10,000 tweets (it ain’t), what should that monumental tweet be?

Should I use it to proclaim to the world my life’s mantra? Or, would it better used to retweet another person’s profound, life-affirming words? I have been told my columns are somewhat pessimistic—would it be wrong to use the seminal event of 10,000 tweets to remind the world of the rotten people who inhabit this blue orb?

I need help people. What should I do? This is more important than real life—this is Twitter!

A serious interlude:

Like most people, I do find myself engaged in social networking much more than I should. Every generation seems to find something that is the impending doom for a literate, civil society. In just the past century jazz, Communism, rock and roll, a Catholic president, hippies, legal abortion, yuppies, rap music, Bill Clinton, reality television and Justin Bieber have all been tell tale signs that the end is nigh. All wrong.

I proclaim the death of us all by social networking is upon us like a biblical plague. I really believe that it has brought far fewer people together than is generally believed; and the act of “staying in touch” has actually made it harder for us as both individuals and a society to really know people. The filter of the screen has removed the 3rd dimension that comes from genuine human interaction.

Think of it as a man who has lived on the Equator his entire life being suddenly teleported to the mountains of northern Utah in January. Cold for most, but for him it could be fatal. His mind and body just can’t adapt to the difference. This is the sad state of interpersonal communication.

I have no idea what my 10,000th tweet will be. Given my forgetful nature, there is a chance I will not remember my count until after I pass the plateau. And even if I do remember, I doubt the tweet will read as funny to my followers as it did when I conjured it up in my head.

Such is the nature of Twitter. Pompous, entertaining and a waste of time. Just like me.

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