This whole tweeting business is much more fun and useful than non-tweeting people realize. I have plenty of friends who think facebook is somehow morally wrong, so you can imagine I don’t have many friends who tweet out here in rural New Brunswick.
But there are people out there in cyber space who are partying and organizing, and I am joining them.
I like participating in this cyber socializing – I love to chat, text and tweet, it is fun! And if you reject new forms of technology you might as well lump yourself in with the ancestors who distrusted the printing press.
The first bonus of tweeting is that it keeps you busy in queues and at hospital appointments. I always madly texted with my one good hand when I was bored at physio appointments, my other hand encased in hot wax.
Or take today at the Superstore cash out; I had a pile of groceries and limited time to shop and the customer in front of me had the last un-priced kumquat that she absolutely had to take home with her that day, and when the cashier headed down the alleys at a glacial pace, did I sigh and shift about and talk quietly to myself? No, I pulled out my cell phone and tweeted my daughter.
I love tweeting. It is quiet and useful; it occupies me and keeps me out of trouble while I could be ranting or making trouble. And talkative opinionated people like me always have something to say; a line up in the grocers is a gold mine.
What instigated this exciting, albeit unpaid, digital exuberance so late in my non-career? A curt email layoff from our local paper where I had been the roving freelance reporter for about ten years freed me from my paid work.
I was very happy to have that work over the years, because it allowed me to work from home while caring for my kids. The money was pretty good (maybe if I had not negotiated so well I’d still be there now) and more than anything, it gave me a place in society outside of doting mother.
But then I was suddenly free of that work and my eldest daughter Rose created a blog for me, taught me how to text, and later, tweet. These things don’t happen organically at my age. I sent many a tweet worthy of When Parents Text causing all sorts of amusement.
I started by texting her randomly about nothing at all while she was living in Toronto this last summer. And, she texted me back, happily, and not because I was a suffocating hovering mama. In the mornings I would receive texts about her war with a particularly angry bus driver and his weird minions that would sit close by him as if for protection. Boy, did they have hostile words in the early morning smog of Aurora. Then, while she simmered, she would tap out her anger on the long trip to her downtown internship.
So, for a mom who is being weaned off her first child’s constant presence the texting was a pacifier; it was good for both of us.
But then I began to branch out and tweet. The first unexpected thing I did was try an experimental tweet to a writer I admire. I tweeted @tabathasouthey . I follow her in the Globe and Mail and happily discovered her in Elle magazine while getting my hair done. I often find myself giggling while reading her Elle columns, especially when she gets on to the topic of her Dad.
So I took a breath and dived – I think I wrote “I really love @tabathasouthey ‘s column in Elle“– or something like that. Within approximately 10 minutes I heard a beep beep and she was thanking me for my compliment. I was astonished. Rose may have been surprised as well.
A few weeks later I crept further into the world of tweets. Why don’t I follow some writers on Twitter? I looked up @MisterJohnDoyle, a great television critic for the Globe and Mail. I can catch his articles as he posts them – cool. He also tweets a lot about what he loves – soccer, not for me really.
What about @margaretatwood, everyone knows she is super cool and cyber connected. She is lively on Twitter and involved in all sorts. When she re-tweeted a post on blogging I looked it up. It was funny and informative and I thought I could learn a lot from this writer so I wrote her and told her about my blog. Then this lovely woman read my blog and liked it!
In this way I became on friendly e-mail terms with the writer Tracey Jackson, (@traceyjackson4). The more I learnt about her, the more our interests overlapped; I too have loved India, I have a daughter who just recently left home, and I also believe that tweezers are essential life tools! We also seem to share the same tell-all style of writing.
She sounds like a lot of fun, and I already like her but I would never have met her without tweets and blogs. As it turns out she is a real-life successful writer with books and film scripts ( Confessions of a Shopaholic, Lucky Ducks, and her new book, Between a Rock and Hot Place – Why Fifty is Not the New Thirty for starters) and I would never have introduced myself to her at a book signing event the same way I did on her blog.
When I stopped writing for the newspaper, I began to write for myself. I loved my freelance writing gig, but right now I am writing for free, and more freely than I have ever written. And it was blogs and tweets that turned things around, took a lost job and made it into an open horizon, and made me excited about all the things I want to write.