What do bumper stickers and tweets have in common? Lots! If you think about it, the similarities abound. In both forums, we try to get across our political affiliations, religious views, environmental stances, professions/hobbies and personal pet peeves into a compressed form of communication. And likely, nobody really cares. The ones who don’t like your words, will have unfavorable responses in one of two ways. If it’s on Twitter, they’ll tweet back their opposing views or unfollow you. If they’re behind you at the red light, you’re lucky. They’ll just give you the finger as they fly past. If you’re unlucky, you’ll be parked and discover your car has been keyed. Either way, you get a reply or response. Congratulations!
Here are some of the ways bumper stickers and tweets are similar:
Character limit: Clearly you can’t write a whole story on the back of a bumper. Just as Twitter limits you to the communication equivalent of a quickie, so does a bumper sticker. It’s a sound bite, people. It’s just enough to give the random stranger online or behind you at the stop light a flavor of who you are. Or who you PRETEND to be.
Clamor for attention: Just as there are those who try to shock other drivers and passengers, there will be those online who like to say things merely for the attention. It’s annoying. Generally these people have multiple bumper stickers or they clog up your twitter feed with senseless information. When I’m on the road, I generally pass a car quickly if they have too many bumper stickers. Otherwise my obsessive-compulsive side will have to read every sticker. Same goes for Twitter. I’ve had to unfollow people who tweet too much. Not everything is important! Your interesting stickers/tweets are ignored due to the flooding of distracting information.
Self-promotion: From Mary Kay to personal businesses, cars advertise their companies. Twitter is a social media bumper sticker. Promote yourself in 140 characters or less! Make your characters count. Hashtag if you have to.
Trending topics: Just as Twitter has a section for what’s trending, so do our bumpers. From political statements to environmental issues, we like to discuss what’s trending in our world today. Sometimes our cars are older, and the issue that was trending years ago is merely a joke now. Example: political candidates who lost eight years ago.
Pointless observations: When people discuss their sandwich choices or how many cups of coffee they’ve had to drink on a particular day, it bothers me just as much as random statements on the back of a bumper.
Follow the Leader: On Twitter, we simply click a button to follow someone, and it’s our choice. On the road, you might get stuck behind someone who’s advertising his or her life, and you still have to follow them, regardless if you agree with personal statements on the bumper. Just the same as on the road, sometimes on social media, you end up with a random follower who may not have your best interests at heart.
Retweeting and Replying: We can retweet with a one-second click. With bumpers, it’s the same. In the case of sports teams or schools, people basically retweet their bumper stickers with every soccer ball sticker or school emblem. Hey, look at us! We’re part of the same cool group. In the case of replying, the two mediums are different. On Twitter, you can have a private conversation with your friends for the whole Twitter community to enjoy. I actually find this incredibly annoying when it goes on for too long. If you have social media, I’m pretty sure you know how to text. When people start slapping stickers on their cars as a direct response to someone else’s sticker, then we’re going to have problems. Trying to chase down the original bumper is going to be hard. Same thing with tweets. Sometimes I get half of a conversation, and I’m like, “Huh?”
TMI: I don’t understand why people like to share too much personal information. Nowadays, the back of your car can identify BY NAME the kids in your family via stick figures. Stickers proudly announce the sports they play and the schools they attend. It’s like a welcome wagon to pedophiles, kidnappers and burglars. Your life is advertised for every literate criminal who has access to the road. The same can be said for Twitter. We announce when we’re out of town with the family. We post pictures and tell when we’re expected home. Hello, robbers? Welcome to my empty home. For those interested, please google crime from bumper stickers. It’s a very real thing. Not only do criminals use the information they gather, but prosecutors can do the same thing during an investigation.
Actual Twitter Bumper Stickers: This goes along with the one above. There are now bumper stickers with twitter addresses so you can get even more personal information about the driver. Criminals used to have to work harder. Now, we’re making their jobs so much easier. Not only are they privy to where your kids go to school and every activity you enjoy, but now they can also immediately access what you think online. And if you’re so willing to put it all out there via the back of your van, I’m thinking you’ll be doing the same on social media. Where will it end? Just say no!
The value of discussing bodily functions: This is never-ending humor. Whether it’s on the bumper or a tweet, fart jokes never get old. I have read them via both mediums. I’ve seen the bumper sticker that says the driver is speeding because he/she has to poop. I haven’t seen the tweet yet from anyone I follow, but I’m sure if I search it with a hashtag, I’ll find it. #Fart #Poop #AlwaysFunny?
Lazy evangelism: I’ve seen the bumper stickers about God. I’ve read the tweets about Him as well. Listen, people. In the forty-five seconds a sinner is at the stop sign behind you, he or she is not going to get saved. I can promise you that. They aren’t even going to remember the verse when they get home. And a tweet’s not gonna do it either.
I love quotes. I have documents full of inspirational quotes and witty sayings. There are times when I read something on my twitter feed, and it makes me smile or laugh or think. There are even bumper stickers that do the same.
I’ll end today’s rant with fifteen of my favorites:
1. WELL-BEHAVED WOMEN SELDOM MAKE HISTORY
2. DON’T DRINK & PARK. ACCIDENTS CAUSE PEOPLE
3. WHERE ARE WE GOING AND WHY AM I IN THIS
4. I LOVE ANIMALS. THEY TASTE DELICIOUS
5. HORN BROKEN. WATCH FOR FINGER.
6. BEER…HELPING UGLY PEOPLE GET LAID SINCE 1842
7. I DRIVE LIKE A CULLEN
8. GUESTS WHO KILL TALK SHOW HOSTS—ON THE LAST GERALDO
9. EMBARRASSING MY CHILDREN—A FULL-TIME OCCUPATION
10. THIS VEHICLE PROTECTED BY ANTI-THEFT STICKER
11. IF YOU CAN READ THIS…YOU ARE PROBABLY PULLING ME OVER
12. SOME GIRLS CHASE BOYS. I PASS ‘EM.
13. MINDS ARE LIKE BOOKS. THEY ONLY WORK IF THEY’RE OPEN
14. TV IS GOODER THAN BOOKS
15. NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS MOVIE
Favorite hashtag on Twitter? #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Do you love or hate bumper stickers and Twitter? Or do you love one and hate the other? Rant away if you’re so inclined. Or just comment with your favorite bumper sticker. We all have them. Even those of us who claim to hate them.
And by the way, feel free to follow me on Twitter. 🙂 As I don’t have any bumper stickers on my van, you’ll be bored following me on the road though.