It was August 2013, and someone (probably from my writing group, since they were the only people who interacted with me for years) convinced me to make a Twitter account.
I had no reason to do this. I am not a celebrity, and I don't much care about celebrities. (My web browser history might tell a different story, but my web browser needs to mind its own business.) Twitter is for the famous, for people who have something to say. I am only sometimes one of the second of those two categories.
This was my first, very classy Twitter profile picture:
Yes, it's me--young, hopeful, and ready to take on the world of Twitter once I got off that carpeting in the photo studio.
But then, my attitude toward social media shifted. Someone wanted to publish a smallish book of my poetry, and I had to publicize. (Note: Literally 0% of my book sales have come from Twitter thus far. But, as you'll see, I am making friends and am sure I'll start selling millions of books any day now.)
I decided to social media. (Yes, I intentionally used "social media" as a verb.) I noticed that Tumblr would automatically link to Twitter, so I made a Tumblr. Then, I couldn't figure out what to put on it. It seems so visual, and I don't know that the world needs to see all the pictures of flowers I've been taking. In fact, I'm certain we're all better off without that.
Also, I still can't decide what to follow on Tumblr. I get the concept of reblogging, but it seems like it would take forever to find tumbles (or whatever one calls them--posts?), and I have naps to take, poems to write, novel plots to brainstorm, dogs to pet. Oh. And naps to take.
Regarding Twitter, though, I have made some observations that most certainly will aid people over 30 (and especially people over 40):
1. People who hope you will pay them money to do something will follow you first. If you follow them back, your Twitter feed will be full of posts about the people from whom your new followers are currently making money. (This is a word of caution.)
2. Following people (or unfollowing them) doesn't seem especially personal on Twitter. On Facebook, for example, I will ask myself, "Does ZZZZZZ really think I'm his/her/their friend?" Then I follow my self-doubt to its logical conclusion and do nothing.
On Twitter, I follow everything that looks interesting (but mostly literary people and things). I'm sure no one cares.
3. If you use your email accounts to find Twitter folks to stalk (I mean, follow), you may find some people you didn't want to remember.
Then again, you may make happy discoveries. I found a person I used to teach back in 2003. I can't speak for other teachers, but I always wonder how my former students are doing. It makes me smile to see someone I thought was so promising tweeting away.
4. Odd people/groups will retweet and favorite your posts for no reason that you can see. I don't think it means anything.
5. You can make interesting connections with total strangers.
Look! I pleased a person/magazine. Therefore, Twitter is worthwhile.
In the past month, I've learned about many new literary magazines, contests, and writers, so I can see some benefit in continuing my exploration.
I'm pretty sure the world has little need for my 140 character outbursts. But it's fun in small doses.
In order to maximize my fun, I am totally trying to follow all the poets who tweet. Help me find them!