By Robert Lalah
I don't have a Twitter account. This clearly comes as a let-down to all my would-be followers, who'd find updates on my daily sock choices infinitely intriguing. Nevertheless, I'll pass on the whole Twitter business. Tweeting is for the birds, I say.
People more technologically progressive than I have taken to Twitter with intense enthusiasm. And they're having a grand time of it. Good for them.
The trouble with anything pleasurable, though, is that it can be hard to moderate. If you become an overtweeter, tweeting too often and without thinking, you're in trouble. An extreme case might require an intervention, where close friends and fellow tweeters let you in on the fact that nobody cares about your random thoughts on nothing. It can be hard to swallow, but balderdash is hardly ever interesting.
If tweeting were an Olympic sport, there would be many contenders for the gold medal. And if that gold medal came with a cash bonus for stupidity, the effect could be enough to revitalise the global economy.
The London Olympics has offered all too many examples of tweeting gone awry. Last week, for instance, United States swimmer Lauren Perdue caused a mini controversy when she tweeted a picture of herself and basketballer LeBron James. It was an innocent photo, just the two of them standing next to each other, smiling.
The trouble is that Perdue also mentioned that James invited her to dinner that night and how upset she was that she couldn't make it. James recently got engaged, and by all accounts, Mrs James-to-be was not amused.
Later the same day, feeling the pressure of the situation, Perdue tweeted an explanation, claiming the invite was completely informal and that it would have meant little more than the two of them eating together in a packed, communal cafeteria.
James' teammate, Kobe Bryant, also got himself in hot water with his wife when someone tweeted a picture of him shirtless in the Olympic Village, in the company of some unidentified females.
There have been even more serious consequences for other athletes. Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was expelled from the Olympics after she tweeted a racist joke. She also thought it was a good idea to express her support for a far-Right political party on Twitter, while at the Games.
Swiss football player Michel Morganella was ordered to go home after he sent out a racist tweet about South Koreans. He did it after South Korea beat Switzerland 2-1.
Nudes and prudes
Not long before this, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice, a triple gold medallist, tweeted a picture of herself in a two-piece designer swimsuit and got some Aussies all riled up. Critics blasted the sports star for showing off in the costume, which they claimed was too sexy. One angry swim fan tweeted: "Stephanie Rice posting a photo of herself in swimwear has brought disgrace to the Australian swim team and she should be dropped!"
American football player Hope Solo wasn't officially disciplined for her tweets criticising former teammate and current television analyst, Brandi Chastain, but she certainly felt plenty of backlash from people who, yes, tweeted that she should show more respect to her predecessors.
And runner Lolo Jones drew public ire for a comment she tweeted just days after the deadly shooting in Aurora, Colorado. "USA men's archery lost the gold medal to Italy, but that's ok, we are Americans ... When's da gun shooting competition?"
Later, after angry tweeters accused her of insensitivity, she tweeted, "sorry u guys only think of violence, but I think of all the hunting I do."
Despite all this tweeting madness, it's clear that Twitter isn't going anywhere. There were more Olympics-related tweets sent out on the night of the opening ceremony in London than there were for the entire Beijing Olympics. That's quite a feat.
I fear it means there might not be much time left for non-tweeters like myself. We can't hold out forever. I, too, could at some point become a tweeting fool. I really hope not, though. I'd hate to think that my own pointless thoughts on nothing could someday be limited to 140 characters or less. Now that just won't do.
Robert Lalah is assistant editor - features and author of 'Roving with Lalah'. Email feedback to email@example.com.