Two months ago I finally broke down and did something I have tried (unsuccessfully) several times to do in the past. I joined “the Twitter”. And yes, that’s what I’m calling it because I think it’s funny and it also shows how unhip, uncool and totally clueless I am about the whole social media platform.
This may come as a surprise since I’m fairly active on Facebook, but until 2008 I really wasn’t active on Facebook (and I joined in 2005), which took several people pushing for me to do since Facebook was a thing. I only joined MySpace after a similar standoff but was never active on it. I just like my privacy. And I’m an introvert. And social media takes time, effort and energy I’d rather devote to other things.
But part of being a writer apparently means I need to build a platform, audience, presence whatever and so I just broke down and did it (again). Hoping that this time I’d finally figure out what “the Twitter” is all about. And I have to say that this time I stuck with it, and I rather like it (a lot).
I think the biggest hold off for me on this particular platform is the whole “140 characters or less” because I’m fucking wordy. Long-winded. I talk and talk and talk, and that’s how I write. I go on and on and on…
It’s hard to say what I want to say, even if it’s a joke, exchange, thought or simple status update in a single paragraph. But Twitter wants it in just a few brief statements. Then on top of that, in order for it to reach anyone I have to do the #hashtag thing, which eats into the characters you use (what the actual f**k). So the whole “be brief” thing was a turn off and quite frankly I wasn’t sure I could do it.
Then there was the more practical reasons (which were totally legit, and not just a front for the whole “I talk too much, and don’t want to cut it down” reason): time, energy, privacy.
As it is, there isn’t enough time in a day to read everything I want to read, even if that is all I did. The same goes for everything I want to write. Everything I want to watch (I have never seen Scandal and just started season five of Law and Order: SVU – I think you get my point). And then there is all the other stuff: work, obligations, exercise, medical crap, being social, being a good spouse/friend/family member. Forget travel and all the other things that eat into the whole time thing even more. I already “waste” so much time on Facebook, I kept thinking, “Do I really want ‘another Facebook’”?
Apply everything I just said for the energy thing too. Anything that takes time requires energy. Sure some things require less, watching something takes less energy than reading something, reading something takes less energy than writing something, but you get my point.
And the privacy thing… yeah, that’s still a thing. Maybe it’s the whole survivor/PTSD thing or maybe I just don’t like people in my business, but I’m really not into having my life on display for people to see. It weirds me out (creeps me out is probably more accurate). So that’s a BIG thing.
But after two months of being on “the Twitter” I have realized that it’s pretty okay.
First off, unlike Facebook it is really interactive. People are having conversations and sharing things like stories and videos and I love it. There is this whole “live” dynamic that Facebook is capable of, but Twitter just does it better. Live events, political stands (like the gun violence sit-ins back in June after Orlando) – it’s just powerful and even if you’re not physically there, it allows you to be there, be a part of a movement or community.
As an activist, I love this. Twitter really is a great tool for social change – who knew? (I know a lot of people probably already knew this, I am usually one of the last in the loop.)
I feel like I keep going back and forth between really active, and popping on once or twice a week, but hopefully I get better about juggling my life on the fascinating platform that is Twitter. I haven’t had a big Twitter milestone yet (like if someone from Buffy started following me, or Roxane Gay, because Roxane Gay is everything) but I’m participating. I’m tweeting and hashtagging (I will not lie, it took a while to get that down, but now I feel like a hashtagging fool) and retweeting, sharing people’s essays, stories, opinions, videos, memes and participating in different conversations. I am following a lot of folks (761 and counting) and have a decent number of followers too (I think 472 is decent after just two months, but if it’s not please don’t tell me and break my heart 😛 ), and still have more people to follow, but I’ve found just following everyone you want to is a fulltime job, best broken up over days (or weeks or months). Usually I find such people on lists I’m on or groups/communities I’m a part of. But let’s not forget the power of hashtags or just fanning out (hello there, Roxane Gay).
So after several tries (both on my current handle and a business handle I never use/check – even now ) I am a Twitterer. (Is that a word?) While it was a process I am finally converted. I finally joined “the Twitter” and I like love it! 😉