Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm not a Twitter virgin anymore - #GOD HELP US

Tuesday and Wednesday I nearly wore myself out tweeting. Which is amazing, considering I opened a Twitter account over two years ago, tweeted about four times and stopped. I just didn't get it. It seemed like such a big fuss over 140 words. Booorrring. I just didn't see the point. I did gain two followers, but they were my stepmother and my cousin, and we never really tweeted to each other. I just sort of shrugged my shoulders and forgot about my Twitter account except whenever some spambot with boobs tried to follow me and I'd have to sigh and report them to Twitter as spam. I mean, guys, come on, I'm a heterosexual, menopausal female. I don't get into either boobs or Viagra. Know your demographic before you try to follow it.

Anyway, in the last few months I started reading The Bloggess' tweets in order to tide me over until her next post, and I found them as hilarious as her blog. I got really hooked on reading her tweets. Often times I wanted to tweet back to her, but I didn't really understand how. And I was afraid to try, afraid I might shoot myself in the ass. But I was happy reading her tweets, and sometimes the tweets of her followers, or the tweets of the people she stalked, like Nathan Fillion. But I didn't dare tweet, not to myself or anyone else, no sir-ey. Too scary, too risky. I just wasn't sure of myself. It seemed like only the cool kids tweeted, and I'm not a cool kid.

Then I took a long MLK vacay to do art this week. Which I did, but then on the last day of vacation, January 17, out of the blue I decided for no good reason to do what I hadn't done in a long time. I tweeted. Then I tweeted again. And I liked it. So I did again. And again. And again some more. No one was really there to hear me, so to speak, but I amused myself pretty well.

Then late Tuesday night, The Bloggess tweeted about SOPA. I'd read about it before, but she reminded me that I needed to do something, even if no one heard me. I wrote my little post on SOPA, then I took to Twitter to tweet a little about it. Then I went to bed.

Wednesday I went back to work, but I got all crazy with tweeting about SOPA, and I even did the #SOPASTRIKE hashtag. And when I did that, my tweets magically appeared under the hashtag with other people's tweets! Wow! How awesome was that! There I was, hanging with the cool kids, tweeting my little heart out about a subject everyone was pissed off about. I was intoxicated like I'd had 10 margaritas on speed (not that I've ever had 10 margaritas and/or speed). I could just feel all my little dopamine sensors buzzing away and the addiction center in my brain lighting up like a pinball machine. Or the flashing lights on an ambulance - take your pick.

I stopped for a while to work, but found myself clicking back to Twitter to tweet throughout the day. So THIS is what everyone is all excited about, I thought to myself. Blathering on if only to amuse yourself. After work, I went home and tweeted some more. Then I found to my amazement that I had picked up another follower, someone who seemed legitimate, not like the spambots trying to follow me and entice me with their big boobs and come-on lines, not giving a shit whether I was a horny awkward young male or a granny in Minnesota darning socks. That was cool too.

But I really wanted to share this experience with someone, someone on Twitter, someone I knew. However, my stepmother and cousin haven't tweeted in over a year. At all. And yes, I have a new follower, but well, I don't know him from Adam just yet. There's not really anyone else I know personally who tweets.

I did think about The Bloggess. I know her, but I don't really know her, and she sure as hell doesn't know me. I emailed her once, and I comment on her blog from time to time, but she wouldn't know me from a zombie off the street, except I'm a little more alive and my limbs aren't falling off and I don't smell like two-week old fish, at least I don't think so. And she's got a zillion people emailing her, commenting on her blog and tweeting to her. Plus, what if she didn't respond to my tweet! OMG!  That would just be awful! I also was afraid I'd tweet like a blathering idiot and just look like a sycophant.

So I decided not to tweet to her, even though I was dying to tweet: "@The Bloggess: OMG I just started tweeting and I cannot stop! God help us all! HAHAHA #NEWBIETWEETING." Or some such nonsense like that.

But then, just before I went to bed, The Bloggess tweeted:

I could not resist. I lived with a geek/nerd for almost seven years, and have worked with them for many more. Hell, I almost became one myself! I know what they're like, and when it comes to geeks and nerds, duct tape is almost always involved. And not in a kinky way, either. Suddenly, I knew what I could say to her that was clever and witty and sure to get a response! So I said:

But before I sent it off to the intertubes, I pondered for a moment: should I really do this? I read over it again a few times. Did it make sense? Was it really that clever or funny? Probably a bazillion other Bloggess followers responded with something similar, and some probably said it in a much wittier way than I did. Still, it was fast approaching 12:30 am. I needed to go to bed. I was tired, but still high from my Twitter mania. I held my breath, thought a second more, then said, Oh what the hell. I clicked Tweet.

Then I closed my laptop. I went to bed and had grandiose delusions of The Bloggess reading my tweet, laughing, retweeting it, and then I'd wake in the morning to hundreds of followers and the stats going through the roof on my blog. Well, just for a moment. Of course I know how ridiculous this thought was. What do you think I am, a fucking idiot? Well, probably so, and you'd be right that I am an idiot, but not a fucking idiot. I really didn't expect The Bloggess to find my tweet endlessly amusing and retweet it. She's got better things to do, like get into absurd fights with her husband Victor. Or record the audiobook version of her new book, which she's been doing most of this week.

Morning proved me right. She didn't retweet my tweet. If she had time to read it, I'm sure she went, "Yeah right, so what, duh!" and moved on to a much wittier tweet. And, really, I'm glad. I don't know what I'd do if she retweeted my little comment. Probably wet myself with glee and dread.

Still, it was fun to come up with something kind of clever and tweet it to The Bloggess, even if it was lame and any duffus could come up the same thing. And I probably could have said it better, but I'm not sure how.

Besides, it's not about getting The Bloggess to retweet something you said in the vainglorious hope that you rack up Twitter followers and stats on your blog overnight. It's about taking a chance and reaching out to communicate with another human being and maybe make them laugh or think with a few sharply written words. And I am discovering that Twitter is great practice in learning how to write concisely and well. Which is why I'm really enjoying using it. When I write a blog post (or anything really) I write too long. Sometimes it even bores me. God help you five people who drop by here and read this crap.

But with Twitter, you have only 140 words to say something. And yes, you can string several 140 words to communicate one thing, but you still communicate it in a lot fewer words than in a blog post, or anything else. It forces you to boil the essence of your thoughts down. It refines your thinking, your writing, and even your wit. It's so efficient. I think that's part of the reason I got addicted so quickly to Twitter.

Now if I could just get some folks who aren't scammers or big-boobed spambots to tweet me. That would be really cool. Then again, if that happens I might not ever stop tweeting. That could be a scary thing for us all - God help us, indeed.

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