Here’s the thing. I love Twitter. You know I do. But the relationship has taken a love-hate twist of late. I think when I read the review of You are Not a Gadget in Spectrum this past weekend I got a little unsettled.
Anyway, this is where it took me…
Sometimes I tweet because of my work. I edit a small regional street press parenting magazine. Twitter helps me to find fabulous writers and also to access current trends and ideas in the parenting community. Sometimes I promo the stuff we are doing. Sometimes I tweet my own blog, which is part of the bigger picture. You could say I tweet professionally. At least *I* could say that.
But sometimes I just stuff around on Twitter. And by ‘stuff around’ I mean ‘have fun’. I have heard people compare Twitter to a night out at a busy pub, and I have to say I agree.
I also love a good justification so this arvo (after a big Twitter weekend) I came up with a little theory.
I was wondering why this seemingly ‘teenage’ behaviour – the use of social media – was so appealing to me. I mean, when I was growing up we didn’t have MSN or email and we got by just fine. I wasn’t a ‘social media’ kid. Or was I? Who didn’t run home from school and ring up their best friend? And whose parents said to them, “I don’t know what you have to talk about. You’ve been at school together all day,”? In fact, my best friend and I used to go home and write long and detailed letters to one another. Sometimes they were pure comedy. We had two characters – Muriel and Gwendolyn – and together we would write satirical parodies in the voices of these fictional creations. Other times we would write what can only be called love letters. Professions of our mutual adoration, with all the teenage angst two ‘romantics’ – in the Keatsian sense – could muster.
When I was a student teacher one of my mentors said to me – “Remember that teenagers are incredibly social animals. Their social life is THE most important thing.” But that can really be extended. Humans are social animals. We crave interaction – pure and simple. And this is the crux of it all. My tweeps are mainly – though not solely – parents. So why do we all seem to be carrying on like teenagers with this crazy tweeting?
We aren’t. But I do think that being a parent and being a teenager have a crucial commonality. They are both times of your life when your social adventures are seriously curtailed by the demands of others. But, as a parent you can’t climb out the window when everyone’s asleep to meet up with your peeps (well you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it). Instead you climb through your monitor and meet with your tweeps. It’s socialising, but not as you know it.
So it’s ok for single twenty-something-year-olds to laugh at us ‘old farts’ on Twitter but, you know, I’m not allowed out most nights to chat, banter and D&M with friends and strangers in cafes and pubs. Ergo, I tweet.
So, that’s my justification. For the minute.
Oh, and also, all such discussions are never complete without reference to addiction. Funnily enough I have never been addicted to anything, and never understood the feeling of addiction. But now I think I do.
In fact, while I was on my holidays and going through a little withdrawal I came up with an analogy:
Social Media and Alcohol
Stumble is beer. It makes you feel like crap.
Facebook is white wine (occasionally it’s French champagne – but not very often)
Blogging is red wine – quality dependent on the vintage. The vintages I like can be seen to the right.
And Twitter – for me at least – is like your favourite cocktail mixed to your own personal specifications. That would make mine a French Martini.