Sunday, August 1, 2010

the trouble with twitter

i am always one step behind when it comes to social media.

i was late to the MySpace party – like, so late that by the time i got there everyone had already switched to Facebook.

i resisted FB because, geez, i had just found my way around myspace and posted all these pictures and found a cool background and made friends and OMG WHY IS EVERYONE LEAVING ME??
i finally made the switch in protest. i hated FB at first, with its non-user-friendly interface and its no-frills design, but that’s where the party was, so i went. eventually, i warmed up to its merits. hey! i haven’t seen that guy since high school! whoa! my BFF from 10 years ago! my aunt! my cousins! Facebook is the best!!

i’m less gung-ho now, but i still use it to share photos with folks who are far away and to keep up with people i otherwise would lose touch with. mostly, i use it much like folks use Twitter – to say something really quick on the move or to post a quick link or pic.

so why am i so resistant to the ACTUAL Twitter site?
well, for starters, the first and only time i ever tried Twitter was a disaster. how am i supposed to find people i know with all these crazy handles? who are these people following me when my account is 5 seconds old? and OMFG HOW DO I MAKE MY CELL PHONE STOP TWEETING ME EVERY 16 SECONDS??!

account delete.

that experience put me off Twitter for quite awhile. in the meantime, i took up blogging.
this was a game i could play. blogging was the first online medium i fully embraced from the beginning. no pressure to post every day, let alone every 5 minutes. when i have something to say, i can actually say something, without trying to keep it to 140 characters. for the most part, i can limit my blog to writing about writing instead of feeling so pressured to say something – anything – that i end up telling everyone i’m wearing my Monday panties on Thursday or that the chorizo burrito i just ate made me spend 20 minutes in the bathroom.

seriously. these are the things i’m afraid i would tweet if tweeted. twatted?

my fear of Twitter is partly due to something i know about myself – i’m not going to half-ass it. if i join the Twitter ranks, i will feel compelled to fully participate – to build a following, to post multiple times a day, to keep up with my fellow tweeters.
and that is a time suck.

i abandoned MySpace a long time ago, but i still maintain my blog and my Facebook (which means spending time reading the other blogs and facebook pages I’m connected to). those things, combined with keeping up with all my favorite threads and friends on the Absolute Write forums, probably suck up one or two hours of my day… almost every. single. day. i can only imagine the time i would invest in Twitter.

and that is time not spent writing, which needs to be my focus. So for now i am staying off Twitter.
now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tweet. quite the opposite! the more people on Twitter, the more writers and pub peeps for me to stalk follow. i check Twitter daily to see what people are talking about in #askagent and #yalitchat. i’m learning about hashtags and tiny urls. i’m observing how others successfully use Twitter to network and promote and just keep up with their buddies in general.

so when (not if, but when) i join Twitter, i will be ready to jump in with both feet. it’s just a matter of time.


Meredith said...

I still feel like I don't understand Twitter (hastags confuse me), but you're right that it's a great way to network and keep with people. Good luck learning more about it!

Angie said...

I haven't even looked at twitter yet, though I know I should. Someday...

Nomes (inkcrush) said...

i'm scared of twitter too. i made an account and havent tweeted for over a year, but people keep following me... odd.

Glen Akin said...

As a software engineer, Twitter is probably the worse social networking site ever, I'll have you know. I had a problem with it as well. The only reason I forced myself into understanding it was because a bunch of agents and fav authors use it, so I thought, why not just join the party. But really, it's rubbish.

erinjade said...

whew! glad to see i'm not alone.

what i'm really waiting for is someone to come up with something that trumps both facebook and twitter. the concept is obviously successful, so i'm shocked no one has created a better interface/system/what-have-you.
Glen, get on that! You could be a ka-billionaire. ;)