Ah Social Media. The joys and challenges of meeting, agreeing, hating, liking and loving in cyber space. The world of communication has changed drastically in the past 10 years. We are finding old friends and relatives. We are “meeting” new people who share our ideologies and unfriending those who don’t. We are compelled to make instant decisions on positions, pictures or proposals by liking or hating it immediately upon sight. The entire universe is encapsulated in Facebook and Twitter with Snapchat and Instagram around to provide the pictorial history of the world. And we all have a bad case of what the Millennials call FOMO—Fear of Missing Out. So, we sign up and sign in and browse and heart and like and argue and unfollow and wonder why we can’t all get along. Our relationships are reduced to characters and memes.
I don’t understand Twitter. Yes, I’m a 60+ woman, but I’m not technology averse. I have all the i family—phone and pad, I play music on Spotify, I talk to Alexa, I can get Netflix on my smart TV, I’ve been on Facebook for several years. I’m a reasonably competent baby boomer when it comes to all this stuff. I live in a world that demands a certain kind of sophistication about tech and social media.
Of course, I have to be, because my father lives the motto “He Who Dies with the Most Toys Wins”. He started writing his books on a computer back in the ‘80s before anyone even knew what a floppy drive was and you had to print everything out on dot matrix paper. He’s always been a MAC guy and proud of it. In our family, he got the first Kindle, the first iPhone, the first iPad, the first Apple Watch, the first Echo. . .you get the idea. Part of this has been his ongoing fascination with technology and how to use it. Part of it, in the past few years, has been his ability to find answers to the progressive loss of eyesight that he is experiencing. Can’t read the newspaper? Let Alexa do it for me. Can’t see what time it is? Get big numbers on the Apple watch and act like a cool Dick Tracy when answering the phone. Can’t drive? Get the Uber app. I stand in absolute awe as this 85-year-old guy figures out how to navigate his world fearlessly. I know 50-year-old people who still have flip phones because they are so afraid of change. Not Doug. He’s never met a new gadget that he didn’t love.
But, I simply don’t get Twitter. I’ve had an account for several years. I’ve “followed” all the people that I find interesting, which feels a little like stalking. But when I hear people say, “Oh, he’s such a great Twitter follow”, I just stare at them. I don’t get it. When I log on to Twitter, all I see is this long page of random tweets, some from people I’m following, some from others I don’t know. Often, the tweet is a response to another tweet that I haven’t seen, so it makes no sense. Usually, the same things have also shown up on a Facebook feed. The concept of being concise has some appeal, but honestly it just makes me tired.
And then, we have this whole new political environment where world leaders now communicate, eviscerate, explain or incite using Twitter. Somehow this makes me itchy. I believe that national and international policy decisions that can affect millions of people, or the entire planet, should probably have a little more thought and gravitas than a hashtag and 140 characters. Maybe that’s part of what has kept me from engaging more on this platform. I am afraid of the misunderstandings that can happen in a short burst and a hashtag.
So, I’ll keep checking in but don’t have a lot of hope. I did go to the Twitter help site and learned that I could embed Twitter to my blog: Widgets »Twitter Timeline Widget. Twitter offers embeddable timelines that allow you to display any public Twitter feed on your blog. These timelines are interactive, so readers can reply, retweet and favorite tweets straight from your blog or website.
As soon as I figure out what that means, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile #confused.
Glenda Stansbury is Marketing Director of InSight Books and Co-Founder of InSight Institute Certified Celebrant Program. She is also a speaker, a trainer, and an observer of life, and one of Doug Manning’s adorable and talented daughters. You may email Glenda at OrdersAndInfo@InSightBooks.com.