My brother in law passed away last week from a rare, fast-growing form of cancer. I mourned, and I wrote sad poetry, and I supported my husband who flew to BC to support his family, and I tried to hold myself together for our 8-year-old.
And then I just said screw it, and spent an entire day on Twitter.
Now, because I want my BIL to look down on me and go, ‘Yah, you really seized the day!’ in a proud and not sarcastic manner, let me elaborate. I spent the day on Twitter as an experiment.
I want to learn to use this amazing tool to reach out in a world that, more and more, is turning inward. I mean, the Oxford word of the year is Selfie. What does that say about us? We have more resources for connecting with others than ever before, but lately, it feels like we are more disconnected from one another than ever before. It’s easy to ignore a cell phone call, a text, a tweet, a FB post. Gone are the days when the phone rang loudly and we ran to grab it, then chatted for an hour with our best friend.
Life is fragile, as the death of two dear friends in January and now the death of my BIL have taught me. I want to meet people with like minds, and like perspectives on the world. I also want to meet my opposites. That’s the stuff that makes this fragile life interesting.
So, when I returned to tweeting more regularly after, quite honestly, having had my Facebook feed and blog just spurt out poetry and photography links for many years, I was pleased when I gained over 40 followers in a day.
The fact that one follower kept tweeting #MentionSomeoneBeautiful to me along with 1,000 other women he’d mentioned on his feed is besides the point. I also tried to disregard that one of my new followers calls himself a jackass, eats fire, and drinks milk through a tube that he’d stuck up his throat and out his nose. Hey. We all have our quirks!
I came away with quite a few observations from this experiment. If they can help even one new Tweeter or long-time frustrated Tweeter, I’ll not have wasted an entire day on Twitter, so I must share them.
Go for the Gentle Clap; Be Surprised By the Standing Ovation. Don’t expect a retweet, and above all don’t try to make it happen. Do not try to be funny or clever. Just be yourself and have fun on there. Besides, few of us give or receive Retweets anymore. That’s so 2008. People click one button, to Favorite. Faster. Easier. More like a gentle clap, rather than a standing ovation.
Find Your Own Voice. Some people do retweet, all the time. These are accounts that retweet lots of interesting, or maybe not so interesting, material, or anything a celebrity says, but they don’t have much to say themselves. I’d suggest that if you decide to Tweet, have something to teach people or to entertain your followers, or to enliven or enrich their lives every day. Or, at the very least have a dirty joke or two up your sleeve. Sex gets retweets, and often, mentions, which means you strike up conversations with other people, and there are lots of laughs. I can’t go there because I’m a respected professional writer, or I’m trying to be, anyway, but check out my character @BadAssGrandma
Find Your Time to Tweet. The people who follow you all have schedules and routines they follow. Figure out what those are, so that your tweet gets the most exposure. If you tweet at 5:03 a.m., you may get some writers, or someone’s cat sleeping on the keyboard. Try to tweet at the same time every day, or, every few hours. Find the hour that works for you but make it during those hours when people are looking for something to do other than what they’re supposed to be doing (work hours, 9-5, is a good start).
Have Fun. Don’t take yourself or Twitter too seriously. In 10 years there will be some other social network type invention – probably involving Holograms and dancing penguins and blinking our Favorites with our eyes. We’ll all try to be Super Stars at that again, while our Twitter feeds lie dormant, but still displaying those horrid Tweets of Twitter Past.
Don’t Forget Your Ruby Slippers. Spend the bulk of your time trying to be the Super Star in your real life, giving to the people who love you and have your back. I’m not saying you can’t make genuine online friends on Twitter. I’m saying don’t forget about the people who love you back home. Twitter is Oz. Always bring your ruby slippers when you log on so you can get back home.
If you’re Tweeting to make money, please disregard these observations. I just tweet for fun, and for the applause, applause, applause. Excuse me, I have the urge to go take a Selfie.
Still have to work on my sarcasm…never been good at it. Another reason I’ll never be a Super Star on Twitter!