A Little Bitter About Twitter

My daughter, the social-media expert, tells me I should be on Twitter.  So I got on Twitter, kind of, and tweeted a couple of times.  I sort of liked it.  If I had more time and energy, I think I’d be pretty good at it.  It’s a lot like haiku-writing: brief and to the point.

But then, I got out of the habit, I would say, which is an exaggeration, since I never really got into the habit in the first place.  “You need to Twitter,” my new friend Rona chided me.  “I’ve gotten a lot of traffic from it.”

Rona’s a writer, blogger and editor — and most damning of all, she’s my age.  So I couldn’t ignore her advice as coming from someone of a different generation, someone who still has energy and what I used to call a “second wind.”

But another to-do item on my social media list?  I’m already blogging and facebooking.  I try to answer comments on my blog, even though I border on the sadly unreliable when it comes to replies.  If my husband’s with me and we see a striking scene outside, I try to talk him into taking a photo for me, even though I often forget to post it on my blog.  I also try to comment on friends’ blogs and link to them.  (Notice I said link?  After I finally learned to do one of those suckers, I went around bragging about my expertise with “hot links,” until somebody very kindly informed me that nobody but a total loser calls them hot any more.  OK, OK, I can take a hint.)

I’m getting tired just listing all my social-networking activities.  But I haven’t even mentioned that I text on my cellphone at least once or twice a week.  Or the supportive Web group I belong to.  I’m trying to stay current, I’m trying to stay wired-in, I’m trying to maintain what my agent calls a “platform.”  (“I’m bet you’re sick of hearing that term,” she said a few months ago.  No, I’d never heard of it before; now, an hour doesn’t pass without a new mention of platform.)

And have I mentioned I email, too?  My daughter informs me that no one emails any longer, but I try to ignore her.  I live for emails and carbohydrates; to me, they will never go out of style.

Tomorrow, I plan to go on Twitter.  I’ll put it on my to-do list, which is handwritten and therefore obsolete.  I have no idea where tweet time is going to come out of my oddball life, which is full of other social networking, reading, going to yoga, talking to my husband and finding new problems to be neurotic about.

“I don’t consider you neurotic at all,” my friend Robert said yesterday.  “I think of you as very grounded.”

“She likes to think she’s neurotic,” my husband pointed out very unhelpfully, like I was a poseur or something.

Remember the story about how savants suggested shutting down the U.S. patent office in the 1890s, since everything had already been invented?  Sometimes, I yearn for a time like that.  If everything slowed to a halt, then maybe, just maybe, I could catch up.  In the meantime, no wonder I like to think I’m neurotic.

(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)

Read one of my favorite posts about high-tech dilemmas I don’t want to face

13 comments… add one
  • This post struck such a chord!  I’m a Twitter-Quitter, too.  My kids are also exasperated with me.  I can’t IM.  I don’t have or want a cell phone.  I’m technically challenged when it comes to what they consider the most mundane aspects of daily life.  And, you did not mention what I find the most frustrating: I’m supposed to connect with my granddaughter through the computer screen via Video cam.  I simply cannot.  How frustrating all these new gadgets are!

  • Cindy A Link

    I’m too distracted by all the other distractions to add another one and am slowly going ADD.

  • Ellen Link

    I’d like to say that I will never “tweet”.  But then, I said that I’d never text-message anybody.  I have to now, no choice.   Some 15 years ago,  emailing made me cringe.  Who knows, maybe someday I’ll overcome my hatred of Facebook , twitter, and whatever follows.

  • All these social networking tools take up too much time – not in doing them, but in actually figuring out HOW to do them!

  • Sometimes I think about twittering, but then, I’d need someone to twitter to, and I don’t know who that would be.  Or do I have the wrong idea all together?  Perhaps you twitter to the world.  I fear it has passed me by.  Anyhow, my thumbs are arthritic.  I think you need thumbs to twitter.  And to text.  Never mind.

  • I read somewhere that people who think they are neurotic are usually very normal, and people who think they are normal are usually very neurotic. As for the technology, I don’t think you HAVE to do any of it. Save your sanity. Do what makes sense to you. I still hand write my to-do lists, btw.

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    I think the neurotics-are-really-normal rumor was probably started by a neurotic.  So naturally, I subscribe to it.

  • Winston Link

    Wither, O’ wither shall I go?   Not to twitter!
    To me, it’s just another pimple on the face of techno-adolescence.
    I don’t understand it any of it.
    Social networking: grabbing a book, a newspaper, a few croonies, and sitting together in a retro coffee shop for some old-fashioned face-to-face stream-of-consciousness gabbing.

  • Oh Ruth! Beware the Twitter Jabberwocky! I got sucked into the Twitterverse and have sadly neglected my blog, as you so kindly reminded me. Rona is a very disciplined Tweeter, for which I envy her. I have to force myself to log off Tweetdeck and Brizzly and Tweetie and all the other seductive ways of keeping me tied up in Twitter’s cosmic conversation. Otherwise my blog would not be the only thing neglected around here!

  • I would tweet (see, I know that’s the verb) only I can’t really see the screen on my cellphone unless I stop and take my specs off and then people run into me on the street and that makes me type the wrong things with my thumbs.

    But I have good news!  You don’t need to tweet.  You just need to sign up.  Even though I don’t tweet, I regularly get emails saying people are following me.  I have followers!

    Whenever I get those emails, I think, poor misguided souls.  Never mind.  That’s what poor misquided souls are for.

    Almost makes me want to get better glasses.  People are waiting for me to speak — er, tweet.

  • It’s exhausting … isn’t it. I cannot imagine email (for business communication) will go away, but for FB and twitter and everything else … I believe it’s added 1-3 hours to a normal work day, which is why, after dinner, I’m visiting blogs.

  • I get exhausted with all the social media too sometimes. Twitter is tiring. But I’ve reached a truce with it – I tweet at least 2 things per day, read through the messages for a few minutes then close it.

  • I’m tweeting a lot less than I used to but still appreciate the sense of community that it fosters if you’re vigilant about weeding out the spammers. Through Twitter, I’ve been offered travel advice on Shanghai by a resident expat, an opportunity to appear on a panel about women and the work force, and a guest post on the website of a multi-talented woman who later hosted my husband and me for dinner in her home. If not for Twitter, I wouldn’t have encountered Tessa, who in turn led me to Ruth. Funny how life unfolds in the virtual world.

Leave a Comment