Sunday, November 09, 2014

Falling in Love with Twitter


For the longest time I would not have a Facebook account. Not 'didn't have," I mean 'wouldn't have." I had heard a lot about it and it just seemed stupid. But in true DebLite fashion, I always make the opposite argument with myself: Why should I have a Facebook account?

I did a Google search for that very thing and came across an article where a  young woman made what I felt was a very compelling argument that reached me. That people who failed to embrace Facebook were much like people who once scoffed at the notion of having a telephone, radio or later television. At each stage of our technological development there are those who deliberately leave themselves out based on reasons from superior morality to simply seeing "no need" for such an item.

The idea of myself as a moribund scoffer of progress just sounded too Republican for me. So I joined Facebook that very day. You could say that maybe I was just looking for any reason to join Facebook, but I think the closer truth is that I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to learn how to use it, so I just took the fake moral high ground of not needing it or seeing a use for it.

And so it was with Twitter. Well not quite. I understood what Facebook what was for. Twitter, I simply did not get. What was the point of Tweeting what you're doing? All day, every day? I could barely keep up with what I was doing all day. Now I was supposed to write about it? All the time? While it was happening? Absurd.

Twitter was the one thing I didn't understand but always wanted to get. So I joined and sent out  a few tentative tweets. I had a few followers, mostly friends I'd asked to join me on Twitter. Things stayed that way for pretty much a year.

I knew there was something more to Twitter when more and more news broke on Twitter than on any news station, any other social media. Twitter is the now of the planet. If it's happening right now, it's on Twitter. Twitter is immediate and I had to get more involved but I had no idea how. And moreover, it seemed I had no time.

My life slowed down a bit when a friend of mine went to jail and rehab and I agreed to take care of her baby when she got out. Suddenly I went from roaming the world at my sweet will to being in the house with a 7 month old baby. My own daughter nearly a college graduate it had been a long time since I'd taken care of any child who could not already read. This was back to square one with a vengeance.

While the kid napped, I explored more and more of Twitter. And slowly I became more and more engaged, read up on how to properly use a hashtag, retweet, message, communicate with others, it became a lot more fun.

Discovering Black Twitter was a mind-blowing revelation. The depth, breadth, wit, candor and sheer beauty of Black Twitter has expanded my mind and my heart in ways I can't begin to describe.

However I tend to pay less attention to what's trending on Twitter than what's trending for me. Mainly because  I'm still playing catchup but also because it's impossible to be aware of every trend, every news item at once. What's new for me may be a year old. That's ok. I'm learning.

But I've learned one thing - if it exists, there's a hashtag for it. If there's not a hashtag for it, create one.

I have serious things I do on twitter, usually a continuation of the political things I write about here and on Facebook.. And there are fun things I do on Twitter. I stumbled on Tweeting While Watching TV by accident, but it's an awesomely fun thing to do. I made a decision to focus more on my own writing and less on watching TV. To that end, there are only about three prime time TV shows that I watch anymore. Watching them is way more fun when I'm watching them with a few hundred thousand of my closest friends on Twitter.

So I think I'm going to do a thing here at DebLite called "Trending." On what issues or topics have caught my attention on Twitter. In the meantime, of course, follow me on Twitter: DebLite (@ThatDeborahGirl).



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