Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Taking the Twitter plunge

Life, as I’ve known it, has changed. Not in a dramatically dark- or light-complected way. Small steps taken over the past couple of weeks have produced myriad ripples. And, in a few instances, waves. It’s change I can handle (thank God). Not the kind that “blindsides you on some idle Tuesday.” Oh look! It’s Tuesday. Ok, deep breath…and…exhale.

I got up this morning, as I tweeted, “[Seeing] a world in a grain of sand and #heaven in a wild flower.” I imagined it would have been a beautiful day – and it has been! I’ll share more anon, but, ok, ok, ok. One hint: It concerns my job that I so enjoy!

So I’ve plunged into the Twittersphere. Do you know how I came to know I’ve taken the plunge and am now riding the waves? No, it’s not that I’ve been tweeting a few times a day from two tweets in 2009 (what remained after I erroneously deleted a few other tweets) to 50-something in a couple of weeks. It’s not because I’ve had to sit to concentrate on attaining brevity to respond to a tweet or two, nor is it because I’ve had to watch the time for my gym appointment go by (not to meet up with anyone, just the time I was aiming for) because I was just not getting up to go through the door. (Yes, I’ve got Twitter for BB, but sometimes you just have to sit down and concentrate on getting the magnitude and multiplicity of your thoughts into 140 characters or less. Seriously, Twitter? Seriously? Who came up with that figure, anyway? Why not a nice round 200? Two hundred is nice and round – not square, not triangular and awkward, nice and round. So, this 140 thing has got me itching for rounding up but, anyway. Come to think of it, this conversation must’ve taken place before. I couldn’t possibly be the first at it.) So, no, it’s not because of any of those things. I think I knew for sure that I’d taken the plunge when, on awaking in the wee hours of this morning, before my regular wake-up time to start getting ready for work, I found myself…OK, I decided to concentrate on getting my must-tweet-this-response thoughts into 140 characters or less, in response to someone who, I dunno, just doesn’t seem to have attained the (clearly elusive) hang of connecting dots within, and therefore make for, a stream of logic in a conversation. I mean, I’ve long ago heard the saying, “Don’t try to have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.” Ne’er a truer word could have been applied to this…this…this… scenario.

That’s how I knew.

Now, I find that the thoughts that would normally run through my head are now being snatched, looked over and evaluated: Twitter worthy? Nah! Ok. We’ll just wait …Ah! Another! How about this one? Still no? Shoot. Unless, perhaps, we tweak it a bit. There! Drat! It’s 161 characters! Ugh! Change ‘the’ to ‘d’; ‘exchange’ to ‘xchng’ (I hope these people KNOW that I CAN spell. Sigh. So, some thoughts …make that most of my tweets (not the RTs, clearly) are not hot off the trying-vehemently-to-reduce-characters brain. Some actually go through that earlier-mentioned process. I mean, could I really just tweet the first thing I type? Ooooh. I dunnooo. (Insert hand-wringing here.) Needless to say, in the very early stages, I’d end up tweeting then deleting then tweeting again (not the same as retweeting…don’t ask!) then deleting. Then when I got it just right-ish, I let it go. Again. And exhaled.

That’s how come so many of one tweet ended up on my Facebook page. Yup! I’d linked them all, remember? So, even though I’d delete from my Twitter page, fb still clung to them like prized possessions. SMH. But, I learned to just sort out the whole thing and tweet once! Especially the replies. Can’t really mess with those ‘cause then I’d just be giving the impression that I’m not ready to respond. And if not, why tweet it? It’s like, it was there a minute ago! Oh! Here it is again – but there’s a comma missing…

I find that I tweet the stuff that I’d make a quick call about to my lil sis - @mizdurie. But, we still talk and text, so, we’re still good. And she’s following me (she’d better!) so we occasionally link there as well.

But the serious stuff. Why the heck do some folks feel that there is an anointed responsibility to play to the followers and utter man-squatting-on-the-mountain-top-esque “sound bites”? Ugh! If their interest is in more than one area, it kind of explains why they have followers. But, when, in a certain area, they cannot hold a decent conversation – fallacious arguments, dodging the counter points, making it crystal clear that the logos (as in ethos/pathos/logos) has left ‘em hanging, it grates on my very nerves. And I don’t like getting annoyed with strangers. I just don’t. It diminishes me - or, I feel diminished in some John Donne way. The bright side? Like the switch on the radio – unfollow! What? Your radio doesn’t have an ‘unfollow’ switch? Get out!

I’ve been thinking of starting this section as an extended footnote or something. Would like to identify/highlight situations in which I’ve found myself responding in an intensely emotional way, to even the seemingly mundane or trivial. It could be a random act of kindness… as a matter of fact, that’s where I’d like to start.

Last week, having taken the plunge (before I knew – for sure – that I’d taken the plunge), I decided to follow a few folks. (I’ve noticed that most people with an extraordinary amount of followers only follow a few – but, I digress.) I decided to follow @marciaforbes and, wouldn’t you know it? She gave me a warm welcome, intro to a few of her followers (only thing missing was the red carpet) plus a bit of encouragement that they should start following me. All I could muster was “Awww.” Of course I replied ( I think I actually deleted the first one and tweeted again…) Anyway, I replied and thanked her. And soon after, I moved from two followers to five! Hey, Rome…day… And who’s trying to build Rome, anyway? Just doing my own thing; creating my own productions. (Couldn’t resist.)

And how did that make me feel? That kind gesture made me feel good. Simply, good. Like, I put my hand out there, and someone reached out and held it.

Marcia, thanks!


Saturday, 18 September 2010

Profile updates - preceding the story

Recently, I linked my Twitter account, to this blog and to my Facebook page. To me, this was the logical step, given my new thrust into maintaining presence in the online social networks - for the most part.

Followed, then, that I updated the bio on Twitter; started following a couple more Tweeters (to start) and began giving some serious thought to what I wanted to share in these networks.

There's the story a-lurking in the back of my mind. Actually, I've brought it to the fore and shared it with lil sis. She thinks I should "hurry up and write it."

All this writing and (self-imposed) obligation is keeping me disciplined.

And I need that. For, it has started to "hurt bad enough."


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Don't look now, but, you're being followed!

What’s that feeling you get when you get your first follower on Twitter? Is it a rather sinking feeling of added responsibility? Like, yeah, just great. Now I gotta write something brilliant and intelligent and insightful… Yet another MOU – Morally Obligated to Update… Or, is it a feeling of a different kind?

And what if you’re really not in the mood to update but you simply feel you must. For, what’s the point of having a Twitter account if you aren’t tweeting regularly? So, note to brain: Try working up something near genius to put into 140 characters or less. (CHARACTERS! Oh the art of brevity.)

Alas, you give in to the (very self-induced) pressure and convince yourself that at least one person gives a hoot that you’re painting your nails metallic blue. (Heeeyyy! It looks good on you!) ‘Cause, I mean, people tweet for all kinds of reasons, and if building your own brand (your-name-here Inc.) and marketing your skills blah blah blah isn’t your reason for using Twitter, then, relax, put your feet up – blue painted nails and all – and tweet to your heart’s content (in 140 characters or less).

Oh! What’s that saying, double negative aside? “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you.”

Enjoy being followed!