Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeding the Twitter Beast

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You can see by the number of Post-It notes, I'm not fully embracing modern media

Whatever you do, do NOT follow me on Twitter, no matter how much I beg.  Somewhere on this blog page you will find a link to follow me on that little blue bird of app happiness.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Probably I didn’t think much about it because it took all of my brain power for half a day just to install the widget on my webpage (and you already know I suffer from decision fatigue).

This old dog decided that she would not let new technology tricks beat her.  So she started a blog.  But she didn’t realize that it required as much care as rare orchids.  “How hard can it be?” I thought.  I have a million opinions and a million pictures.  I’ll use one of those fast-food templates that a brainless jellyfish could master.  But once I started it, blog-building created a lot of blog-envy.

You know how that is, whether you play seriously with photography or gardening or rebuilding motors.  Soon you start to look around and notice that your friend has a better camera flash, or you read an article in a magazine that says everyone who quilts needs this new gadget that designs, cuts, sews and appliqués without any human intervention except pressing “on.”  And so as I wrote my blog I began to read more blogs.

Oooo, look at that cool badge saying they’re a member of such-and-such.  Twitter icons, Facebook icons.  Quick, I have to learn what an RSS feed is.  What a pathetically short blog roll I have.  I must network my blog.  Give me, give me, give me.  And so it began.  And now I’m in danger of massive widget failure.

And Twitter is to blame.

“How hard can it be?” I said again.  My nephew, Andy Wissman (“skateboarder, photographer, filmmaker, artist, beard”), is droll beyond measure, plus he always has links to his fantastic photos on his e-zine.  Besides, he’s young, unmarried, and works at City Museum in St. Louis.  Of course, he has time to tweet up a storm.  But how do bloggers like Annette Gendler and Monica Medina find so many links to offer up?  How do they meet their daily, weekly, and monthly writing tasks (yay, Monica for her new HuffPo gig!) while still tweeting all those fabulous links to make me a better writer?

Tweet tweet tweet all day.  Constant mentions, retweets, replies, @ high fives.  All day long they roll through my TweetDeck.

How will I ever feed the Twitter Beast? Hashtags (#), @ signs, retweets, replies, tinyurls.  I used to think I was witty and had something to say about everything.  But I stare at my TweetDeck and . . . nothing.  What could I possibly say in under 140 characters that anyone would want to retweet?  Oh no, my head’s about to explode from the pressure.

At night as I lie in bed the horror of complete Twitter failure overtakes me.  I think, “Crapola, I should have tweeted that article in the New York Times.  Or I should have tweeted something I overheard in the supermarket line.”  Or “Dang, nothing worth tweeting ever happens to me.”  I can go through an entire day without remembering to tweet once.  And then I panic more because I never read all the tweets from yesterday or followed all the valuable links of the 26 Twitter fiends I’m currently following and there will be more tomorrow.  I’d have more than a pittance of my own followers, but I thought it prudent (in case I want to run for office or become a famous writer) to block a few who said they wanted to be my friend.  Somehow I didn’t think they’d say anything I could RT in public.  And if I follow Justin Bieber will he follow me back?

I’m still a Post-It notes kinda gal.  I don’t even sync my smartphone to anything.  So whatever you do, don’t click that little blue bird and start following me around all day.  Don’t send me wonderfully witty or profound messages that I can RT to make myself appear more wonderfully witty and profound.  Don’t share my links with friends who might expect all of my messages to be just as interesting.

Now please excuse me.  I have to go to the gym to do lat pulldowns so I can carry the weight of my new Twitter responsibility on my narrow shoulders.
 
Pen and paper -- still my favorite message transmission media
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If you've mastered the Twitter Beast, tell me so I can learn more by following you.  If you think it's the time suck of the century, please share.

As the summer comes to an end, revisit a lazy Sunday along the Burgundy Canal
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15 comments:

leahsthoughts.com said...

I hear you on Twitter! I use it obviously, but sometimes I feel like it's just one more thing to keep up with. I like old fashioned pen and paper too!

Julie Farrar said...

Yep, one more thing to keep up with, but that's where so many communicate now. What to do?

Helen Smith said...

Lovely photos - your writing in that notebook looks very neat & flowing, too. I love Twitter!

Teresa said...

I have not gone near Twitter for fear of just what you mention. I am, however, trying to learn to navigate She Writes...which is where I found your blog. I'm several baby steps behind you in this techy-cyber-thingy world. I am, however, your equal in the Post-it world. So proud.

marlenedotterer said...

I just started on Twitter and haven't figured it out yet. I certainly won't be tweeting all day. Just don't have that much to talk about...

Julie Farrar said...

Helen, I'll have to find you in the Twitterverse (see, I'm even learning the lingo) and learn from someone else who loves it. And Teresa, I'm more on your level. I have a smartphone, but that was so I could have it when I traveled for long periods across the ocean. I don't even talk on it that much. It's all about texting and reading my e-mail. And I still use a paper calendar.

Michael Ann said...

Great post! (I also love what you wrote on your profile) :-) Love Face Book, hate Twitter. I do use it for my recipe blog, but I don't use it for my writing blog. I don't understand the codes and abbreviations so half of what people are saying doesn't make any sense to me. I don't like all the PR we have to do to promote. It is taking up all my time, when all I wanted to do was write!

monicastangledweb.com said...

Julie, Thanks so much for all the mentions! I love your post, and know lots of folks who are even more reluctant about Twitter than I was when I started. So here's my advice, keeping in mind that I had to start out somewhere. So, as trite as it sounds, here's what you need to do: Baby steps. One small step at a time. And as far as I can see, you're doing it. You have an account, you have a Twitter badge on your blog, so make a goal of tweeting once a day or if that's too much, then 3-4 times a week. Think small first. As you get more comfortable with it, then expand your horizons, and watch yourself become a Twitter aficionado with hundreds of followers!

Annette Gendler said...

Julie - bless your heart for mentioning me but I don't feel at all like I've mastered Twitter, or rather, that I use it to its fullest potential, nor do I actually tweet that much. I must say I enjoy it for the newsstream it provides, and I look into it almost every day but I don't take it that seriously. I do what I can do. As a writer, my focus should still be on that good old notebook you've got spread out there!

Tele said...

I love this post, Julie, and am totally with you. I've got a twitter account, but feel terribly antiquated and out of my element there. The blog has been fun, though I've been astonished at the time and energy it's commanded. Anyway, I'm delighted that you joined the blogosphere - your posts are such a hoot!

Nancy Hinchliff said...

Julie, I think I've mastered the beast. I used to let it grab me by the throat and keep me pinned to its ever-lovin' pages for hours. But now I only stop by occasionally, preferring to click from afar on other people's pages when making comments, or posting. Thanks for visiting my writing blog...enjoyed your comments.

Julie Farrar said...

Thanks for all the comments. I feel that I am not alone in my trepidation, but also that there is hope.

Bella said...

Julie, you are not alone in your trepidation! When I first joined Twitter, I was completely overwhelmed. Now I just sing in and post what's on my mind. Sometimes it's funny, other times it's not, but seriously, I don't think anyone cares. In the meantime, Twitter allows us to be our own personal rock stars and if we're lucky, we can recruit a fool or two to share in our miniscule moment of glory. Just so you know, I'm following you now. Because misery loves company, you know! :)

HIDE A HEART said...

OK, I get the reasons for blogging HERE , get the need for FB HERE , get the benefit of commenting on other blogs, realise the value of knowing how to write and use simple HTML, but even after nearly 2 yrs. I still do NOT get benefit of TT's HERE (tweeting on twitter)!

Sandwiched Writer said...

Why I remain one of the few, the proud, the twitterless. Hoping my vocation does not force the tiny blue bird upon me!

Fellow campaigner here, looking forward to reading your blog!

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