My husband affectionately calls me a “Twit.” At least I think it’s affectionate. At any rate, he’s going for the laugh and I’m good with that.
Usage of this relatively new term of endearment started about a year ago when I first joined Twitter.
What, you wonder, was a forty-something Mom doing joining Twitter? There was a freelance writing gig I’d taken on that required developing an online presence for my client, AND somewhere I heard that it would help my chances of selling a novel if I got more involved in social media. So I jumped into the pool, arms tightly wrapped around myself.
At first, I HATED Twitter. I didn’t see the point, despite reading all about how it is good for business and for writers. I read endlessly about it and spent lots of time on it, watching, and doing some tweeting for my client; mostly, I retweeted industry articles, tweeted links to our blog entries, and occasionally engaged in conversation with another Tweep (used by many to refer to people on Twitter; clearly a better term than Twit). On a good day, it was at best tolerable work.
But then something happened.
On my personal Twitter account, I started retweeting links and people who weren’t following me thanked me publicly, and then, they followed me. I built up my nerve and commented on a funny comment somebody tweeted and they commented on my comment. We began a conversation. Nothing deeply personal. Just a little verbal jousting. And he made me laugh. And then I thought, “OMG. Does this guy think I’m flirting with him? What if he’s some sort of predator?” So I stopped talking to him. Because I am a worry wart and didn’t want to be drawn into some crazy person’s web. The guy didn’t tweet back once I stopped. He never stalked me in person either. (As far as I know.)
A few more times, I reached out to others, responding to their tweets and we had conversations. More people began to follow me. I went on Twitter more often because I liked having conversations that were meaningless but entertaining. I have enough serious in my life and often there is little time to just let off some steam. And while some people find the best way to do that is to go for a run, I’m a highly verbal person. I want to say something. But I’m a little uncomfortable striking up conversations with people in public places, especially if I don’t have something important to say. Writing, for me, is easier. I used to think I’d be set for life if only I could find a high paying job writing personal letters. I wasn’t thinking real time and real short, but still, Twitter is a first step.
Now, after taking an amazing online class about branding for writers with social-media-for-writers guru, Kristen Lamb, who firmly urged all 100+ of us in the class to form a Twitter group and talk to each other regularly, I’ve learned that Twitter is much more than I ever thought it could be. Kristen‘s big thing is that writers are isolated due to the nature of our work. She’s created this tremendous network in cyberspace called WANA, which stands for We Are Not Alone, and is meant to be a place where writers can congregate and talk about writing or family or tell jokes or whatever else they want to share.
Through this group, I’ve learned about hashtags and social media dashboards and other things that were too scary to figure out on my own. I can talk to my writer friends in a group or I can talk to the bigger world of my followers. I’m still a baby in this environment but for the first time in a long time, I feel constant support from a large network of people who understand what I am trying to do with my life.
This week I acquired my 1000th follower. I have to admit that I’m not excited about that because it might help me to sell my book or my freelance writing services. But, I am excited because my world is expanding. There was a woman on my Freshman Hall in college who used to say that she wanted to study the Chinese people, their culture and language because she wanted to know as many people as she could in the world and China had the most people. At the time, I silently laughed at her ambition. I liked her, but her approach and her need to know everyone struck me as silly.
But now I understand. There is something truly amazing about talking to people across the country and the world on a regular basis. There is comfort in the similarity of our struggles and joys, and there is value in learning about what makes our lives different. I’m getting an unexpected education that is changing me in what I believe to be amazing ways.
Even if I have to put up with some people calling me a Twit. Maybe the picture above will encourage that someone to consider calling me Tweety Bird instead. It sounds like Ladybird and she was smart and shrewd, a woman of substance. Something I aspire to be.
By the way, my college friend did become an expert in Chinese culture and I believe speaks the language fluently. I know this not because I keep in touch with her (we went in different directions) but because she is my friend on Facebook—a subject for another blog post.
I'd love to hear what you think. Share in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Please share my posts with your friends by clicking on the FB, Twitter, or email share buttons found below. And if you like what you've read, click on the Facebook like button.
You won't miss a post if you sign up to receive my musings by email (see the sidebar on this page).