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You on Twitter? #thisisacryforhelp

OPINION

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December 19, 2012|By Stephen Markley, @stephenmarkley | For RedEye

Twitter is kind of like a best friend who—the first time I met him—I figured for a weird little pervert who wouldn't shut up.

Following a shameless and total reversal, I now think Twitter has sliced bread dead to rights. It was like how I came to enjoy Leonardo DiCaprio movies even though when I was 14 I hated Leo because all the girls I liked in the seventh and eighth grades preferred his turn in "Titanic" to my incisive commentary about the Macarena. ("Hey, this sure makes middle school dances weird, huh?")

After a while, I began to figure out Twitter. I learned to use my @'s and my hashtags, and in the process discovered a useful Internet companion.

Then Twitter was suddenly festering in my brain stem at odd moments. I'd say things in my head and add the phrase "hashtag" followed by a single word or phrase to punctuate a point.

"This is really a great apple," I'd think. "Hashtag: Pink Lady!"

Then I'd look around my apartment and instead of feeling shame—horrible, horrible shame—I'd go to my computer, type that in, and then click it into the Library of Congress.

(It gives me great pleasure to know the Library of Congress is cataloging all tweets so that someday, generations from now, people will look back at my life and see that I once had the thought: "Dear Aldi, your body wash smells like kitchen linoleum. And now I smell like kitchen linoleum. #sexappeal")

At this point, I'm not so much "on Twitter" as a "cult member." When I'm away from Twitter for long periods, I wonder what it's up to.

What's Jonathan Chait of New York magazine thinking about the president's speech right now? Did David Roberts of grist.org write about this carbon regulation scheme yet? How does Steve Nash feel like that bone in his left leg is healing?

What the hell kind of crazy, awesome, unintentionally hilarious diarrhea of a liquefying brain is spewing from the account of Donald Trump? Hell, every time I miss a single Trump tweet I feel like I skipped a major cultural event of my generation—like I grew up not bothering to watch "Seinfeld."

Why does Shaquille O'Neal only tweet in nonsense words using randomly capitalized letters? Is an infant sucking on his iPhone? Oh, and who's this Honey-babboo character Twitter's always going on about? Does she have a Twitter feed? What does David Roberts think of Honey-babboo?

It's getting really sick.

I've moved past the brink of sanity. Now I spend hours #trying to concoct tweets that will #MaximizeMyTwitter while #ThinkingInHashtags. Then I'll finally come up with something brilliant like: "Kate Middleton's pregnant? The one time I wish it was mine." And no one retweets that? Are you kidding me, Twitter? What do I have to do to get a few measly retweets?

Why won't you follow me, follower 1,010? Who are you, Twitter?! Why does the beautiful dark sprint of your sterile, pitiless data across the world's bandwidth haunt my dreams? What do I have to do to please you, my friend, my love, my precious?

Hashtag: Hobbit Tie-In!

RedEye special contributor Stephen Markley is the author of "The Great Dysmorphia" and "Publish This Book."

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